If you want to look at a hot networking space, take a look at the developments in WiFi at large mobile operators. Recently in my role as Event Director at Infonetics, I have been leading some scintillating webinars covering mobile topics, including Carrier WiFi.
Our recent webinar on Hotspot 2.0 with newly minted public company Ruckus Wireless (Nasdaq: RKUS) was a big hit. What is carrier WiFi? In short, it’s the integration of public WiFi hotspots with large operator networks, toward the goal of providing seamless interoperation between your mobile phone network and WiFi networks.
In an ideal world, your phone would be able to automatically connect to WiFi networks in the receiving area and send and receive data and voice calls from these networks rather than using the traditional mobile cellular network. This already happens in most homes. You program your phone to understand when you can use WiFi for data, rather than sending data over the mobile network and possibly incurring extra fees. Imagine it happening everywhere, leveraging existing public WiFi hotpsots.
At Infonetics, Directing Analyst Richard Webb has been leading the charge in this space. Webb recently described the Carrier WiFi market as “red hot” in a research brief.
From the Infonetics press release: “Mobile operators by and large have held WiFi at arm’s length, fearing that it could cannibalize their opportunity to derive data revenues,” Webb says. “Now operators are embracing WiFi to offload excess data and enhance the broadband experience for users. For the long-term success of carrier WiFi, though, integration with the mobile network is key.”
Highlights of the report can be found here in the press release. They include:
• Carrier WiFi equipment revenue, including carrier WiFi access points and WiFi hotspot controllers, jumped 53% worldwide in 2012 from 2011
• Perennial market leader Cisco again led carrier WiFi revenue share in 2012, followed by Ruckus Wireless and Ericsson; all 3 vendors achieved notable year-over-year growth
• Dual mode cellular/WiFi access points began shipping in 2012 and are expected to undergo significant growth as more and more mobile operators build out carrier WiFi networks
• While all world regions are experiencing robust demand for carrier WiFi, Asia Pacific—especially China, Indonesia and India—will be the strongest drivers of growth through 2017
• Mobile operators are in the midst of a land-grab, rapidly claiming prime small cell locations by deploying carrier WiFi and then later replacing the WiFi access points with dual mode 3G/WiFi and LTE/WiFi small cells
• The global carrier WiFi equipment market is forecast by Infonetics to top $3.9 billion by 2017, primarily driven by mobile operators deploying carrier WiFi for data offload