Wi-Fi continues to be the telco growth story of the decade: IDC reports 8.6% year-on-year enterprise WLAN growth while MarketsandMarkets forecast the Wi-Fi (public) hotspot market to reach a whopping $3.3 billion by 2020 – a CAGR of 17%.
Here are our top 10 reasons why this is happening:
1 – ‘It’s the economy, stupid’: The cost per wireless bit delivered over Wi-Fi is still some 20 or 60 times less pricy than anything delivered over cellular networks. Consumers are smart enough to understand this – especially in markets where cellular is still expensive, poor quality, or scarce. For more on the mobile vs. Wi-Fi (fixed) price differential, read this excellent blog by Mobile Experts.
2 – Telecoms follows Moore’s Law, too – and we’re already well into the Age of Wi-Fi. The cost of information has been in a free fall since silicon chips were invented and that applies to wireless as well as anything else. Only Wi-Fi can keep up with this curve.
3 – The device explosion is here – it has been for a while and it’s not going to slow down. Only Wi-Fi can deal with connecting a deluge of devices affordably to the Internet.
4 – Don’t wait for 5G – it might never happen: The outrageous 5G hype cycle has long since started and we won’t see the end of it for a long time. But it will take years for the standards to be completed and after that more years for the technology to be rolled out – if it ever happens. Meanwhile, Wi-Fi has already broken the gigabit barrier at a fraction of the cost.
5 – WiGig has already hit the markets: A huge swath of 60 GHz spectrum is available at no cost (unlicensed) and in the coming years, WiGig will take on a big role in connecting things and people to the Internet indoors and out. We also expect that WiGig (or other protocols in the unlicensed 60 GHz band) will perform a lot of the heavy lifting for city Wi-Fi backhaul.
6 – The Smart Wi-Fi city is already here: City Wi-Fi networks are going up like never before and this will accelerate as governments and private service providers begin to understand how to value & monetize Wi-Fi. LinkNYC and City Beacon are good examples of what we will see deployed in cities in the coming years.
7 – HaLow is looking promising for IoT: Piggy-backed on the huge Wi-Fi ecosystem, the new IoT standard HaLow (802.11ah) looks like it might be just what the doctored ordered to kickstart the IoT bonanza that everyone in telecom has been waiting for. Very low cost, low power, and with a proven range of up to 1 km, HaLow will be a force to be reckoned with at 900 MHz. And it’s just another Wi-Fi standard, really.
Still not convinced? Then join us for Wi-Fi NOW International in London this October 25-27 for more! Get your ticket here.