Tablet, smartphone use pushing public WiFi growth, study says
As consumers continue to demand more wireless connections for their smartphones and tablets computers, the number of public WiFi hotspots is expected to quadruple in the next four years.
According to a study conducted by research firm Informa and commissioned by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), a telecom industry lobby, the number of WiFi hotspots will reach 5.8 million worldwide by 2015, and mobile data traffic is estimated to exceed 16.8 million terabytes by 2014.
"The findings show we are about to enter the golden age of public WiFi with hotspot deployments set to soar," says WBA chairman Chris Bruce in a statement.
This trend of multiplying WiFi hotspots has been seen over the last decade at airports and popular tourist attractions around the world. New York City, for example, has announced that it will introduce 26 free WiFi hotspots at 20 parks in the next five years.
However, according to Informa, China and Japan are likely to see the biggest growth in hotspots in the coming years. China Mobile, the country's biggest wireless carrier, plans to deploy 1 million hotspots within six months, while Japan's KDDI will increase its hotspot count ten-fold.