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Customer experience key driver for carrier wifi investment – survey

The WBA claims operators are more up for wifi investment

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has published a report on the wifi hotspot market claiming the key driver for operators to invest in this area is to improve customer experience. The annual report, which was compiled by researchers Maravedis-Rethink, also claimed operators’ overall attitudes towards wifi are changing.

70% of the survey’s 210 respondents said better customer experience and therefore increased retention were the most important factors when deciding to invest in wifi. 41% also said this is the most important reason for next generation hotspot (NGH) deployments.

“What stands out from this year’s survey is a strong focus on the importance of overall customer experience rather than just speed and convenience, and it is cited numerous times as a key driver for the adoption of wifi,” Caroline Gabriel, Research Director at Maravedis-Rethink, said. “WBA initiatives such as global roaming and next generation hotspot are still being recognised as key enablers of the technology.”

The report results showed that 56.7% of respondents are now more confident about investing in public wifi than they were a year ago (52%, and up from 43% in 2012). According to the report, this increased confidence will translate into faster and broader wifi deployments at all sorts of venues.

“Carrier Wi-Fi has experienced a revolution over the past year and is now being embraced by an ever growing number of carriers,” Shrikant Shenwai, CEO of the WBA said.

“The significant progress in live commercial NGH deployments, and in turn new monetization strategies, provide evidence of major improvements in quality of service, ease of use and revenue generation that the technology brings. This research underlines the growing momentum behind wifi that is increasing year-on-year, driven by the ecosystem coming together to develop the technology and promote its wide ranging benefits.”

The report also claimed wifi roaming continues to be an important way to extend coverage, especially internationally. The number of hotspot operators with roaming deals has increased from 30% in 2013 to just over 50% this year.

Among the respondents, there were a total of 2.8 million owned and managed hotspots, but when roaming was included the cumulative number of locations rose to 8.85 million. The report sited the growth in wifi roaming implementations as the most dramatic change from last year with 35% saying they are offering this, up 250% year-on-year.

45% of the survey respondents were operators, 25% wifi equipment and device vendors, and 19% consultants/integrators.


One comment

  1. Dean Bubley (@disruptivedean) 09/12/2014 @ 2:39 pm

    This is precisely the wrong way to run public WiFi.

    There absolutely *must* be transparency and choice by the end-user, because there are many stakeholders involved in WiFi provision, and many different models for access. MNOs are less important than venue owners, event organisers, device vendors, fixed operators, employers & application companies in determining WiFi choice. And paramount is the user’s own preferences – and perhaps, desire for privacy.

    If you attend a conference, you will log on with the event producer’s free-access code, not “roam” from your cellular account & perhaps incur fees, or have restrictions on what applications you can use. If you visit a cafe, it is up to the owner how easy or difficult to make it to connect – they may well want a small hurdle for the user to prevent it being inundated by “campers” sitting on WiFi all day long.

    It is arrogant & deeply unrealistic of the mobile industry to try to suggest that someone’s cellular connection should determine how they connect to WiFi & take the user. Most cellphone WiFi use is none of the operator’s business. It is connectivity in “private” mode, not part of a contracted service. Also, most people will have tablets or PCs that don’t have SIMs or cellular accounts – they will just connect as per normal.

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