May 7, 2015
The carrier WiFi market has been growing stronger in recent years, mainly thanks to the continued increase of global data usage on mobile networks.
In early 2014, this massive increase in data consumption caused carriers to rely on WiFi offloading to accommodate the heavy network traffic (see Increased Data Consumption Sparks Progress in WiFi Networks).
Now the stats are in: Experts say that carrier spending on WiFi equipment grew 23 percent throughout 2014, for a year-end total of $336 million globally.* And the growth won’t stop there.
According to research firm Infonetics, carriers’ worldwide WiFi spending will escalate an additional 88 percent in 2015—intensified by a demand for offload and broadband enhancement, technology innovations such as 802.11ac, and service opportunities such as data analytics, location-based services and WiFi roaming.*
In 2014, research shows that the market for global carrier spending on Wi-Fi equipment grew by 16 percent. Furthermore, access points made up the majority of overall carrier WiFi revenue.
Among U.S. carriers, T-Mobile was the first to offer free WiFi equipment to subscribers in order to improve network performance (see T-Mobile Offers Free WiFi Equipment to Improve Network Performance). Shortly after, industry leaders Verizon and AT&T announced plans to offer WiFi calling this year to further strengthen their nationwide networks by complementing services like existing 3G voice services and promising VoLTE networks (see AT&T and Verizon Will Offer WiFi Calling in 2015).
In general, offloading is a win-win for carriers as well as users, enhancing performance while allowing for higher traffic and usage.
According to RCR Wireless, offloading will allow carriers “to be able to make better use of the LTE spectrum they have by taking a lot of the heavy payload—data applications, data intensive applications such as downloads, such as streaming–and move it into a more natural environment for data, which is where Wi-Fi comes into play.”*