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Come 2019, 60% of mobile data traffic will be carried by Wi-Fi networks

By Catherine Knowles, Wed 17 Jun 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

​Wi-Fi networks will carry almost 60% of smartphone and tablet data traffic by 2019, according to Juniper Research.

This is the equivalent of more than 115,000PB (Petabytes) of data, or more than six billion Blu-ray movies. When compared to the 30,000PB of this year, this is an almost a four-fold increase.

In the report ‘Mobile Data Offload & Onload: Wi-Fi, Small Cell & Network Strategies 2015-2019’, Juniper Research addresses the Wi-Fi offload benefits and challenges.

The report finds mobile data offload, otherwise known as data migration from a mobile network to a Wi-Fi network, offers several key benefits to industry stakeholders.

Offload not only addresses 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, says Juniper.

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,” says research author Nitin Bhas.

Additionally, operators are also converting residential customers to community hotspot providers.

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

Other global mobile data traffic highlights include:

  • Global mobile data traffic generated from devices including smartphones, featurephones and tablets forecast to exceed 197,000PB in 2019.
  • Juniper estimates global smartphone data consumption to be nearly twice the amount of tablet traffic in 2015.
  • Developing markets are forecast to witness higher growth rates and increased market share of the total mobile data traffic over the next five years.
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