The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has released a new survey conducted during the 3rd quarter of 2012 among its members to gauge the status of the Wi-Fi market. The WBA got 386 responses, the largest percentage (23%) came from integrated operators, followed by 18% from mobile operators. The survey reveals several interesting points:
(1) Smartphones have overtaken laptops in connecting to WiFi hotspots: smartphones (40%), laptops (39%) and tablets (17%).
(2) The Next Generation Hotspots (NGH) which is based on Passpoint certified equipment, is gaining traction with 19% of operator respondents planning to deploy by the end of 2013. They claim NGH dramatically simplifies public Wi-Fi access, especially from smartphones, by allowing secure connections without the need for usernames and passwords. Operators see NGH as a way to offload cellular traffic onto WiFi networks.
(3) Over the next 12 months, the type of WiFi venue that is expected to see the greatest traffic demand are outdoor hotzones (both local-area and wide-area, 45 percent) followed by transportation (15.8 percent), bars/cafes/restaurants (15.8 percent). See graphic below.