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Wi-Fi networks to carry 60 per cent of mobile data by 2019

Wi-Fi networks will carry almost 60 per cent of all smartphone and tablet data by 2019, a new research has shown.

The research, conducted by Juniper Research, shows that by 2019, smartphone and tablet data traffic will increase four-fold, reaching over 115,000 PB (Petabytes). This year, the traffic came close to 30,000 PB.

The research called Mobile Data Offload & Onload: Wi-Fi, Small Cell & Network Strategies 2015-2019- found that mobile data offload offers several key benefits to industry stakeholders.

Offload is data migration from a mobile network to a Wi-Fi network.

Not only does it address the issue of patchy coverage, but also has the potential for the creation of new services such as VoWi-Fi (Wi-Fi Calling) and to increase the usage of existing 3G/4G services.

However, the research cautioned that Wi-Fi offload brings challenges to Operators of effective deployment and ROI (return on investment). “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”, added research author Nitin Bhas.

Operators are also converting residential customers to community hotspot providers, especially in the US.

There were nearly 40 million community hotspots in 2014, and Wi-Fi service provider iPass expects this to more than double this year to nearly 90 million.

Juniper also has some interesting forecasts for the next five years: global mobile data traffic generated from mobile devices should exceed 197,000 PB by that time. Global smartphone data consumption will be nearly twice the amount of tablet traffic in 2015, and North America and West Europe will together account for over 50 per cent of the global mobile data being offloaded in 2019.

The whitepaper, Wi-Fi Calling Operators is available to download from the Juniper Research website together with further details of the new research and interactive dataset.