MANCHESTER, England, December 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
Stress on mobile networks is building and could become untenable within seven years, say Purple CEO Gavin Wheeldon and Digital Futurist Mike Ryan. The duo predicts that cellular networks, which already depend on WiFi to cope with increasing data consumption, may fail to hold up under the pressure of unlimited plans and 5G.
"Mobile networks rely on being able to offload data onto WiFi," says Wheeldon, "More traffic was offloaded from cellular networks on to WiFi than remained on them in 2016 (Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, 2016-2021, Cisco) As we enter the Zettabyte era, with annual global IP traffic expected to reach 3.3 ZB per year by 2021 (The Zettabyte Era: Trends and Analysis, Cisco) it will be increasingly necessary for WiFi to take more of the strain."
Mike Ryan, founder of Fusion Futures, says, "People in urban areas are already using WiFi on their mobile devices even when they think they are using 4G. In the next few years, wearable devices, such as digital contact lenses, will replace mobile phones and data usage will increase. WiFi, or an evolution of the current technology with unlimited speed, will be the go-to-choice for data delivery, potentially removing 4G and 5G networks altogether by 2025."
The global WiFi market is consistently growing. With an estimated CAGR (2015-2020) of 17.8%, it is expected to be worth $33.6 billion by 2020. It is also predicted that, by 2018, there will be one WiFi hotspot on the planet for every eight humans (WiFi Growth Map).
"We are at a tipping point," says Wheeldon, "If growth of WiFi continues at this rate, people in urban areas will soon be able to use fast, free WiFi exclusively for Internet access and data downloads."
Purple has found that there are already almost 12 million commercial and community WiFi hotspots in the UK, with the majority offering free access.
"We expect WiFi to outlive the mobile networks," says Wheeldon, "Increasingly, it is the glue that holds our connected world together, satisfying the appetites of Netflix and Spotify bingers, who use their phones in a very different way to a decade ago."
"WiFi also offers significant benefits from a commercial perspective. For instance, venues can use a WiFi analytics platform to improve engagement with visitors and collect insights that can be used to empower marketing and strategic decision making."
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