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September 09, 2013

Number of Wi-Fi Access Points Expected to Hit 15M by 2018

There is very little doubt that the number of Wi-Fi users around the world is only growing. The number of Wi-Fi access points around the world is also growing and a new report estimates that by the end of 2018, there will be more than 15 million carrier grade Wi-Fi access points around the globe. That growth is estimated to actually be about 13.5 percent per year and underlines just how popular public Wi-Fi networks have become over the last few years.

It’s no wonder companies that might not have thought about offering a free public Wi-Fi network just a few years ago are giving that option a second look. The explosion in mobile devices has certainly helped drive the popularity of public Wi-Fi Networks. It used to be that coffee shops, schools and restaurants would be the only places that offered this kind of service, because laptops were the predominant way in which people got on the Web.

Now that people are moving all over the world’s cities carrying smartphones and tablets, these Wi-Fi networks are becoming more prominent in open spaces. The new report by industry analyst, Berg shows that there have been more than seven million carrier grade Wi-Fi access points installed by telecom operators by the end of 2012. That same report showed that the number of mobile devices that are accessing these Wi-Fi spots will grow from 1.5 billion at the end of 2012, to more than four billion by the end of 2018.

“The challenge for mobile operators is to integrate Wi-Fi with the mobile network in a way that enables control over the network selection and connection process,” said André Malm, a senior analyst for Berg Insight in a recent report.

That challenge will only get bigger as more mobile devices are used and more people expect to be able to access Wi-Fi networks wherever they go.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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