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Wi-Fi Hotspots: The Mobile Operator's 3G Offload Alternative Product Image

Wi-Fi Hotspots: The Mobile Operator's 3G Offload Alternative

  • Published: September 2011
  • Region: Global
  • 54 Pages
  • In-Stat/MDR

The hotspot market continues to surge forward with phenomenal growth in footprint and usage, a trend that In-Stat anticipates will continue. As with the past several years, growth in the hotspot market is largely being driven by wireless and broadband providers embracing Wi-Fi as both a competitive differentiator and enhancement to core services. How hotspots are being used, the frequency, and the occasion for usage all continue to transition due to a variety of factors, including:

-Wide-scale adoption of Wi-Fi-enabled handsets and a blending of mobile and Wi-Fi experiences
-Further integration of Wi-Fi into mobile operator strategies
-A promise of automatic login and seamless access as next-generation hotspot technologies are implemented in coming years
-Revised payment models shifting to free and bundled access
-New application potential, including mobile video and location-based services.

The report provides the following:
-Venue and usage forecast by venue category and region
-In-Stat TAP survey results on hotspot usage and perceptions
-Analysis of hotspot access devices, and usage distinctions between laptop and non-laptop devices
-Classification of venue types and related usage trends
-Analysis of market growth opportunities and barriers
-Evaluation of hotspot business models and the transition to “free access.”

Executive Summary

Market Overview

Market Assessment
- Growth Enablers
- Growth Inhibitors

Venue Classification
- Tier Classification
- Emerging Venue Categories: Large-Scale Venues and Hotzones
-- Large-Scale Venues
-- Hotzones
-- How Hotzones Will Alter Hotspot Usage Patterns
- Venues with Growing Usage
- Free vs. For Fee
- Branded

Network Architecture
- Explosion of Wi-Fi-Enabled Devices
- Calls for: Usage Management
- Network Challenges

Provider Segmentation and Analysis
- Segmentation by Core Product
-- Wireless Operators
-- Cable Operators/ISPs
-- Niche Hotspot Operators
- Segmentation by Service Approach
-- Network Operators
-- Branded Resellers
-- Roaming Providers
-- Wearing Multiple Hats
- Segmentation by Deployment Strategy
-- Geographically Isolated
-- Branded
-- Venue Concentration
-- Resellers

Network Expansion Through Roaming/Wholesale Access
- Emerging Trend: Hotspot Wholesaling
- Benefits of Roaming/Wholesaling
- Roaming Provider Analysis

Hotspot Opportunities: Operator Perspectives
- Wireless Operators
-- 3G/4G Offload
-- Maintaining Control Over the Phone
- Cable Operators
-- Customer Retention/DSL Defense
-- Extending Online Video Opportunity

Next Generation Hotspots
- Automatic Login
- Security
- Market Impact

Emerging Usage
- Location-Based Services
- Mobile VoIP
- Mobile and Tablet Applications
- Video
- Gaming

Business Model Strategies
- Hotspots as an Amenity
-- Regional Distinctions
-- Pendulum Effect: Swinging Back to Paid Access?
- Pricing Models
-- Subscription vs. Pay-per-Use
-- Device Based Pricing
- Unmet Enterprise Opportunity
- Emerging Revenue Opportunities
-- Wholesale versus Retail
-- Sponsored Networks

Hotspot Usage Analysis
- Device Matters
-- Frequency and Duration of Session
-- Location of Access
-- Hotspot Activities

Market Analysis & Forecast
- Hotspot Usage Increasing
- Anticipated Future Usage
- Barriers to Usage Persist
- Forecast
-- Hotspot Market by Vertical
-- Hotspot Market by Region
-- Hotspot Connects by Device
-- Hotspot AP Forecast

Methodology

Glossary

List of Tables

Table 1. Roaming Provider Comparison

Table 2. Next Generation Hotspot Participants

Table 3. Current Hotspot vs. NGH Technologies

Table 4. Hotspot Venues by Vertical (Thousands), 2010-2015

Table 5. Hotspot Connects by Venues (Billions), 2010-2015

Table 6. Hotspot Venues by Region (Thousands), 2010-2015

Table 7. Hotspot Connects by Region (Billions), 2010-2015

List of Figures

Figure 1. Worldwide Hotspot Footprint (Thousands) and Usage (Billions) Forecast, 2010-2015

Figure 2. Hotspot Ecosystem

Figure 3. Hotspot Tier Classification

Figure 4. Are Hotzones More Valuable than Venue-Specific Hotspots?

Figure 5. Wi-Fi Hotspot Network Architecture

Figure 6. Wi-Fi-Enabled Device Shipments, Phones, Tablets, Netbooks, and Notebooks (Millions), 2010-2015

Figure 7. Impact of Hotspot Offering on Provider Choice

Figure 8. Impact of Auto Login on Hotspot Usage

Figure 9. Willingness to Pay for Hotspot Service

Figure 10. User Preferences for Free Access Restrictions

Figure 11. Type of Device Used to Access Hotspot Network, 2009-2011

Figure 12. Frequency of Hotspot Usage by Device Type

Figure 13. Average Duration of Hotspot Session by Device Type

Figure 14. Where Users Access by Device Type

Figure 15. Activities Engaged in While at a Hotspot by Device Type

Figure 16. Rate of Hotspot Usage Among In-Stat TAP Respondents, 2009-2011

Figure 17. Anticipated Future Hotspot Usage, 2009-2011

Figure 18. Drivers for Increased Hotspot Usage

Figure 19. Leading Barriers to Hotspot Usage, 2009-2011

Figure 20. Worldwide Hotspot Venues (Thousands) and Connects (Billions), 2010-2015

Figure 21. Percent of Connects: Laptops vs. Non-Laptops, 2010-2015

Figure 22. Worldwide AP Forecast (Thousands), 2010-2015

Hotspot Usage to Reach 120 Billion Connects by 2015

The hotspot market continues to surge forward with phenomenal growth in footprint and usage. Over the past several years, growth in the hotspot market has largely been driven by wireless and broadband providers embracing Wi-Fi as both a competitive differentiator, and an enhancement to core services. New In-Stat (www.in-stat.com) research forecasts that this trend will continue as usage will increase to nearly 120 billion connects in 2015.

“The hotspot market is in a continuous state of flux. Now over a decade old, the market is still undergoing significant changes in usage and business models,” says Amy Cravens, Senior Analyst. “Wi-Fi hotspots have become a service used to attract customers to other product offerings, rather than a standalone offering. Whether the product is broadband, mobile service, or a cup of coffee, Wi-Fi is being layered on top of core offerings as a competitive differentiator.”

Some of the research findings include:

- Hotspots will continue to be a key factor in mobile operators' data offload strategy.

- Worldwide hotpot venues will increase to over 1 million in 2013.

- While transportation and convention centers only account for a small percent of venues, they account for nearly 30% of total connects.

- Asia Pacific has emerged as the preeminent hotspot market, largely due to recent renewed investment in venue deployment.

- Notebooks continue to account for the majority of connects in the hotspot market; however, the rate of smartphone and tablet access is increasing rapidly.

Recent In-Stat research, Wi-Fi Hotspots: The Mobile Operator's 3G Offload Alternative (#IN1105002WS), covers how hotspots are being used, the frequency, and the occasion for usage. These all continue to transition due to a variety of factors, including:

- Wide-scale adoption of Wi-Fi-enabled handsets and a blending of mobile and Wi-Fi experiences
- Further integration of Wi-Fi into mobile operator strategies
- A promise of automatic login and seamless access as Next Generation Hotspot (NGH) technologies are implemented in coming years
- Revised payment models shifting to free and bundled access
- New application potential, including mobile video and location-based servic

The report also provides:

- Venue and usage forecast by venue, category, and region
- In-Stat TAP survey results on hotspot usage and perceptions
- Analysis of hotspot access devices, and usage distinctions between laptop and non-laptop devices
- Classification of venue types and related usage trends
- Analysis of market growth opportunities and barriers
- Evaluation of hotspot business models and the transition to "free access"

This research is part of In-Stat’s Wi-Fi Markets service, which provides analysis of the market for Wi-Fi-enabled equipment and attach rates in PCs, peripherals, consumer electronics, communications, and industrial applications, as well as services such as hotspots and in-flight broadband.

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