Commercial Wi-Fi Hotspots To Grow by 47% Worldwide in 2006

A new ABI Research forecasts that in 2006 the number of commercial Wi-Fi hotspots will grow by 47% worldwide to 143,700. While almost three-quarters of these sites (74%) are still found in North America and Europe, the Asia Pacific region is growing very rapidly. By 2011 the Asia Pacific region will surpass both Europe and North America in the number of Wi-Fi hotspots, according to ABI Research.
Europe is the current market leader with over 57,000 hotspots. One major driver of Wi-Fi hot spots is retail establishments. A prominent example is McDonalds, which has moved to add hotspots to 17% of its 4,000 locations.

The growing Wi-Fi hotspot market is fueling a demand for Wi-Fi access points. More than 675,000 access points will be shipped this year specifically for use in hotspots. Not only are hotspot deployments and their subscriber numbers growing, but ABI Research notes that there also has been a dramatic increase in the number of Wi-Fi sessions per subscriber. This means that subscribers are lingering longer and spending more time doing their e-mail and surfing the Internet.

With almost 40,000 hotspots worldwide, the hospitality industry continues to embrace Wi-Fi. ABI Research believes that voice over Wi-Fi will become a very attractive choice for many major hotel chains, both for their guests and for their staff. ABI Research notes that by 2010 the hospitality industry will offer more than 109,000 Wi-Fi hotspots.

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