Cellular Handsets and Portable Devices Drive Wi-Fi Hotspots

Wi-Fi handset shipments have exploded over the past year, and will continue to show strong growth over the next several years. With the increasing prevalence of Wi-Fi enabled handsets, hotspot usage by handheld devices has increased significantly. As a percentage of total connects, handhelds increased from 20% in 2008 to 35% in 2009. By 2011 handhelds are anticipated to account for half of hotspot connects reports In-Stat.

Other factors are affecting handheld usage growth as well. There is a predominance of mobile carriers in the hotspot market, resulting in promotion of Wi-Fi enabled handset devices on their networks. New dual-mode Wi-Fi phones are coming to the market. Growth in applications, such as content download, or even more so VoFi, will drive usage of handheld devices over the coming years. Finally, markets, such as China, are opening for hotspots that have previously restricted Wi-Fi usage on handhelds.

“The ubiquity of Wi-Fi has created hotspot coverage as an expected amenity at many places of business,” says Frank Dickson, In-Stat analyst. “While consumer or leisure users do not often carry a laptop, they do have Wi-Fi enabled handhelds and are using these devices to access hotspots. This, coupled with the service being bundled with mobile plans, is making hotspot access much more consumer-oriented compared to the service’s former business focus.”

Recent research by In-Stat found the following:

  • In-Stat estimates that hotspot usage will increase in 2009 by 47%, bringing total worldwide connects to 1.2 billion.
  • Wi-Fi handset shipments have increased significantly over the past several years. From 2007 to 2008, shipments increased by over 50%. This growth is a result from increased phone functionality, falling price points, and carrier promotion.
  • Wi-Fi-enabled entertainment device, such as cameras, gaming devices, and personal media players (PMPs) shipments will increase from 108.8 million in 2009 to 177.3 million in 2013.

The research, “Wi-Fi Hotspots: Cellular Handsets and Portable Devices Drive a Market Renaissance”, covers the worldwide market for Wi-Fi hotspots. It includes:

  • Forecasts of mobile handsets with embedded Wi-Fi sales through 2013
  • Forecasts of hotspot venue and usage growth for North America, Asia, and Europe through 2013
  • Results and analysis of an In-Stat consumer survey
  • Provider segmentation and deployment analysis
  • Profiles of major players including AT&T, Swisscom, Boingo, iPass, and WeRoam
  • Discussion of emerging applications

The price is $3,495 (US).

This research is part of In-Stat’s Wireless Broadband Evolution service, which provides end-to-end coverage of the technologies and strategies for the development and deployment of future wireless technologies, such as HSPA, LTE, WiMAX and Enhanced Wireless DSL. The coverage includes the infrastructure, devices, services, and subscribers for wireless broadband.

About In-Stat
In-Stat’s market intelligence combines technical, market and end-user research and database models to analyze the Mobile Internet and Digital Entertainment ecosystems. Our insights are derived from a deep understanding of technology impacts, nearly 30 years of history in research and consulting, and direct relationships with leading players in each of our core markets. In-Stat provides its research through reports, annual subscriptions, consulting and advisory services to inform critical decisions. Technology and semiconductor vendors, infrastructure and device manufacturers, service providers and media companies worldwide rely on partnerships with In-Stat?s tenured, experienced staff and on our in-depth market intelligence to support critical business, product and technology decisions. In-Stat is a strategic segment of the $9 billion Reed Elsevier global information network, with access to an expansive worldwide electronic network, extensive technology databases and well-informed personnel. As a member of Reed Business Information, In-Stat is a division of the largest business-to-business publisher in the U.S.