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Commentary
10/18/2010
12:29 PM
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Free Wi-Fi Or Bye-Bye

In today's highly competitive, widely connected world, more than 2 billion calls will be placed from Wi-Fi hotspots this year, and that number is expected to grow to 11 billion in 2014, according to market research firm In-Stat.

In today's highly competitive, widely connected world, more than 2 billion calls will be placed from Wi-Fi hotspots this year, and that number is expected to grow to 11 billion in 2014, according to market research firm In-Stat.While more and more individuals are using these sites, they do not want to pay for such connections. In fact, close to two out three users indicate that a company's ability to supply them with free access will have a significant influence on their decision to use a particular service. Only five percent say that cost is not a factor at all. These individuals will find plenty of possible locations: In-Stat projects that the total number of hotspots worldwide will reach 319,200 by year-end.

Much of the growth is coming in Asia/Pacific, which houses about one quarter of the worldwide hotspot venues. Another trend is the move to handheld devices: by 2012, they are expected to account for half of hotspot connects.

The growing use of Wi-Fi hotspots will impact small and medium businesses in a couple of ways. First, companies need to anticipate that their employees will be able to remain connected whenever they are off site and make accommodations for them. In addition, these businesses will need to offer free wireless services, especially in markets, such as cafes and hotels where they have come to be expected.

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