Wi-Fi deployments come in a wide variety of models suited to different purposes, and the competitive landscape is filled out by major telcos and cellular services providing thousands of hotspots; hotspot specialty providers; institutional hotspot providers; and various types of service aggregators and roaming agreements. Additionally, as the networks can be set up for less than $100, individual hotspots can—and are—deployed almost anywhere. While the gigantic metropolitan mesh network projects started to collapse in 2007 to 2008, with Earthlink ultimately leaving the business and MetroCell going under, numerous metropolitan wide and business district deployments still exist, and interest is being renewed as smartphones and tablets strain the resources of 3G vendors and the budgets of mobile data users.
The tribulations of metro Wi-Fi were seen as portending the imminent death of Wi-Fi by pundits outside of the industry. In fact, they could hardly have been more wrong. Even as these efforts garnered sustained media attention for their possibilities, successes and failings, Wi-Fi hotspot networks were quietly sweeping the globe. Free Wi-FI access has recently become a commodity in hotels, cafes and airports, and airplanes are increasingly offering Wi-Fi to their patrons to meet the insatiable data and communications needs of an exploding array of Wi-Fi enabled smart mobile devices.
Because there are so many instances, and coverage of this unique market has lagged, this report will only attempt to look at some of the networks and deployment categories that are of growing importance in the second decade of the 21st Century.
Is WiMAX and LTE Killing WiFi?
we believe that WiFi will be “free” (e.g. complementary at venues and/or bundled as part of subscription offerings) as well as a tool for managing network operations (e.g. WiFi offload) and as such is increasingly becoming table stakes as opposed to a direct revenue contributor as many thought it would be circa 2002.
Our vision is that this model will ultimately be the same fate of ALL bearer services (voice and data) and it will be an absolute necessity for all network operators/service providers to identify value-added services for revenue growth and improved margins. This will play out over the next five (5) years and will be the subject of considerable further study by Mind Commerce.
For more information, see: