WiFi Networks to Carry 60 Percent of Mobile Data Traffic by 2019 - ISPreview UK
A new report from Juniper Research has predicted that Mobile Network Operators (MNO) will offload 60% of their Smartphone and Tablet based Mobile Broadband (3G, 4G) data traffic to WiFi networks by 2019 (equivalent to 115,000 Petabytes), which is up almost four-fold from 30,000PB this year.

Public WiFi hotspots typically connect to fixed line broadband networks where the cost of data capacity is notably cheaper than mobile data, which is why mobile operators have increasingly been using mobile data off-loading as a way to cut their costs. Furthermore it can also be used to carry voice call traffic and thus to help improve network coverage in general (femtocell style).

But approaches like this only tend to work effectively when the mobile operator either runs their own hotspots (ideally in busy urban areas) or reaches an agreement to use the hotspots provided by another operator. Research author, Nitin Bhas, said: Operators need to deploy own Wi-Fi zones in problematic areas or partner with Wi-Fi hotspot operators and aggregators such as iPass and Boingo.

The move is also reflected in the United Kingdom, where over the past few months weve seen many of the major MNOs launch WiFi calling and automatic hotspot access apps for Smartphones and Tablets. BT also has big post-merger plans for EE, which could see the MNO side harnessing BTs existing WiFi hotspots (including their community FON hotspots that are created automatically by BT Broadband customers) across the UK in order to help cut the cost of data delivery and improve mobile coverage.

According to Wi-Fi service provider iPass, there were nearly 40 million community hotspots in 2014 and this is expected to more than double this year to nearly 90 million. Mobile demand is a key driver for this. In relation to that FON recently informed us that their global WiFi network had now surpassed 15 million hotspots (around a third of which come from BT customers in the UK) and the company said they added 3 million of those in just one year.

Elsewhere Juniper Research said that global mobile data traffic generated from devices including Smartphones, Featurephones and Tablets is forecast to exceed 197,000PB in 2019 and global Smartphone data consumption was found to be nearly twice the amount of Tablet traffic in 2015. Finally, North America and Western Europe will together account for over 50% of the global mobile data being offloaded to WiFi in 2019.