WiFi Hotspots Evolving to Carrier Grade, but Hurdles Remain
The Amdocs survey indicated almost all operators (85 percent) plan to invest in carrier-grade WiFi by 2016.Carrier-grade WiFi hotspots will grow from 14 percent today to 72 percent of overall WiFi hotspots by 2018, according to a report from customer experience solutions specialist Amdocs. The study, which explores the transition from best-effort to carrier-grade WiFi networks among multiple service operators (MSOs) and mobile network operators (MNOs), revealed that by the end of 2016, 61 percent of MSO's WiFi hotspots, and 70 percent of MNOs', will be sourced from third parties to take advantage of shared cost savings and accelerated deployment, up from 45 percent today. However, about two-thirds (65 percent) of respondents placed the lack of strong network planning and management tools in their top three risk factors for investing in carrier-grade WiFi, with 65 percent stating that their existing tools will not extend well to WiFi without additional investment. As part of their WiFi network strategy to enable WiFi coverage on the move, by 2016, 77 percent of service providers plan to use homespots--where the user agrees to leave the hotspot open for use by passers-by--growing from 30 percent today.
In addition, the survey indicated almost all operators (85 percent) plan to invest in carrier-grade WiFi by 2016.For comparison, in 2013, although the largest amounts of data carried over public Wi-Fi were still monetized by access fees (individual or enterprise) and advertising, the fastest growing source of data was offload from mobile networks.