International WiFi service provider iPass has published a growth map that shows how public WiFi hotspots are being deployed around the world.
It uses data from wireless market analysts Maravedis-Rethink, revealing there’ll be 47.7 million public WiFi hotspots available worldwide by the end of 2014. That’s the equivalent of one hotspot for around 150 people.
However, the next four years will see global hotspot numbers grow to over 340 million, which is almost one WiFi hotspot for every twenty people by 2018.
Much of this increase will come from community ‘homespot’ public WiFi hotspots, where home users choose to share their domestic WiFi. This will rise from just under 40 million in 2014 to over 325 million in 2018.
There’ll also be significant growth in mobile hotspots. Currently WiFi is available on 16% of planes and 3% of trains, but this is forecast to rise to 60% of planes and 11% of trains by 2018.
Evan Kaplan, President and CEO of iPass, said “Over the last few years we’ve seen the emergence of the ‘Wi-Fi first’ generation. Wi-Fi has become cool again; in fact it’s seen by most as an essential utility, just like water or electricity. Most of the devices we use are Wi-Fi only and even on the most advanced 4G handsets, 78% of data goes over Wi-Fi. Simply put, it’s the network of choice for consumers and soon they’ll be able to roam this alternative network of millions of hotspots.”
“A messy and fragmented global Wi-Fi network is emerging; the challenge is that it needs to be easy for consumers to access and simple for providers to monetize. This is where we’ll see the platform players like Facebook and Google come to the party. They have the ability to help this new breed of Wi-Fi provider get paid in meaningful currencies - namely cash, advertising or user data. Just look back 10 years or so, many business were under-utilizing their online assets before the emergence of Google AdSense; now many are making significant revenues from it.”