Carrier WiFi equipment market exploding to $2.1 billion by 2016; Data Offload of cellular networks is key driver

Market research firm Infonetics Research released excerpts from its new Carrier WiFi Equipment market share, market size, and forecast report, which tracks carrier-class mobile WiFi access points, carrier-class WiFi hotspot access points, WiFi hotspot controllers, and the vendors who manufacture them.

Author Richard Webb recently said, “Mobile WiFi access points are expected to experience the highest CAGR — 86% — through 2016 as operators seek closer integration of WiFi with the mobile network.”

CARRIER WIFI EQUIPMENT MARKET HIGHLIGHTS
.    Global revenue for carrier WiFi equipment — including mobile WiFi access points, WiFi hotspot access points, and WiFi hotspot controllers — grew 35% in 2011 from 2010
.    Mobile WiFi access points are expected to experience the highest compound annual growth rate — 86% — through 2016 as mobile operators seek a closer integration of WiFi with the mobile network
.    Infonetics forecasts the global carrier WiFi equipment market to grow in the high double-digit percents annually at least through 2016, when it will hit $2.1 billion
.    BelAir Networks (recently acquired by Ericsson), Cisco, and Ruckus Wireless together account for more than two-thirds of 2011 global carrier WiFi equipment revenue
.    Infonetics anticipates new players will enter the market, disrupting early market share standings, and, with growing demand for WiFi integrated base stations from mobile operators, carrier WiFi market share could shift toward the mobile infrastructure vendors

REPORT SYNOPSIS
Infonetics’ Carrier WiFi Equipment report is a new service that tracks the market for WiFi equipment deployed by operators in public spaces for wireless Internet access. The report covers carrier-class mobile WiFi access points, carrier-class WiFi hotspot access points, and WiFi hotspot controllers (not consumer WiFi CPE or enterprise wireless LAN equipment). The report provides market analysis, market trends, carrier WiFi equipment vendor market share, market size, and forecasts by revenue and units. The report also includes carrier WiFi vendor announcements and customer wins and a Mobile Operator WiFi Offload Strategies Tracker. Vendors tracked include 4ipnet, Airspan, Alcatel-Lucent, Alvarion, CeedTec, Cisco, Edgewater Wireless, Ericsson (BelAir Networks), Gemtek, GoNet, Handlink, HP, Huawei, Motorola, Nomadix, Proxim, RFNet, Ruckus Wireless, Shyam Networks, Strix Systems, Tranzeo, Tropos, Ubiquiti Networks, UniFi, Vivato, Wavion, and others. Contact Infonetics’ Sales to buy report: http://www.infonetics.com/contact.asp.

ANALYST NOTE
“Our many recent conversations with mobile operators and equipment vendors validate our view that mobile operators are hot for hotspots,” notes Richard Webb, directing analyst for microwave, mobile offload, and mobile broadband devices at Infonetics Research. “The carrier WiFi equipment market has grown consistently since 2007, initially driven by exploding demand from mobile operators augmenting their 3G and 4G deployments with WiFi hotspot services. The strongest new growth driver is mobile operators deploying carrier WiFi to offload a portion of their mobile data traffic. Additionally, fixed-line operators and ISPs continue to deploy WiFi to extend existing WiFi hotspot services, cable and DSL operators use WiFi as an enhancement for their broadband services, and many operators will soon be upgrading their existing access points to new WiFi standards, such as the forthcoming 802.11ac protocol.”


Infonetics Research also released excerpts from its new Carrier WiFi Offload and Hotspot Strategies: Global Service Provider Survey today.

SELECT CARRIER WIFI OFFLOAD AND HOTSPOT STRATEGIES SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS
.    Two-thirds of the service providers that Infonetics interviewed have already deployed 20,000 to over 150,000 WiFi access points (APs) in public spaces
.    Street coverage is seen as one of the areas of greatest deficit for WiFi coverage; by 2013, the percentage of service providers planning to deploy WiFi for street coverage jumps to 79%
.    Complementing the mobile data service by enhancing throughput is currently the top deployment driver for carrier WiFi, followed by the scarcity of licensed spectrum
.    Nearly all respondent carriers plan to increase the number of access points deployed by 2013, so Infonetics expects significant carrier WiFi deployment over the coming year
.    Smartphones and tablets are named by mobile operators as the top mobile broadband devices driving their 2013 deployments of public WiFi networks

CARRIER WIFI OFFLOAD AND HOTSPOT STRATEGIES SURVEY SYNOPSIS
For its Carrier WiFi Offload and Hotspot Strategies survey, Infonetics interviewed 24 mobile, incumbent, and competitive operators in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, the Middle East and Africa that operate a public WiFi network used for offloading cellular networks, or who plan to by year-end. The study provides insight into service provider WiFi offload deployment plans and drivers, ratings of WiFi product features, and mobile offload and WiFi service strategies. Together the survey respondents represent 35% of the world’s telecom carrier revenue and 36% of the world’s telecom capex (capital expenditures). Contact Infonetics’ Sales to buy report: http://www.infonetics.com/contact.asp.

ANALYST NOTE
“Mobile operators are firmly behind carrier WiFi as a key solution for mobile offload, even as they continue to investigate other small cell possibilities,” says Richard Webb, directing analyst for microwave, mobile offload, and mobile broadband devices at Infonetics Research. “Our survey shows that whilst data offload is the current priority, in coming years operators will want to see a closer integration of WiFi with the mobile network so that offload becomes more intelligent, automated, and seamless. They want to utilize WiFi not only to augment mobile services, but to enhance the network itself by becoming an integrated part of the mobile network.”

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