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Mobile Data Traffic Will Flood Wi-Fi Networks This Year

Sam Pudwell joined Silicon UK as a reporter in December 2016. As well as being the resident Cloud aficionado, he covers areas such as cyber security, government IT and sports technology, with the aim of going to as many events as possible.

Telcos need to be more strategic when it comes to incorporating Wi-Fi into their product offering

Earlier this year, Cisco’s Mobile Visual Networking Index predicted a seven fold increase in the amount of mobile data traffic over the next five years, reaching 587 exabytes by 2021.

This rapid growth is due to multiple factors, including increased smartphone usage, improvements in network speeds, a wider availability of mobile applications, the ever-increasing presence of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the significant consumption of mobile video.

And we’ve now been given another example of the unstoppable force that is mobile data. A report published by Juniper Research says that more than 60 percent of mobile data traffic will be offloaded onto Wi-Fi networks globally this year, peaking at 64 percent in 2018.

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Data boom

In light of this, Alex Puregger – CEO of Wi-Fi provider Fon – believes telco operators need to consider Wi-Fi as an integrated technology, a strategy which could bring significant cost savings and new revenue streams.

“Telco operators should be much more strategic about how to use Wi-Fi. The key is to integrate WiFi into their convergent offering,” he said.

“The possibility of integration with the cellular core allows operators to maintain visibility of their subscribers’ consumption (video, social media, games) which would otherwise be invisible.”

Juniper adds that incorporating new solutions for managing Wi-Fi will allow mobile operators to reduce costs, increase coverage in rural areas and improve the connectivity experience for their users.

Mobile data is set to represent 20 percent of the total Internet traffic in 2021, boosted by the continuing development of 5G connectivity.

5G is an area demanding increasing attention from the market’s major players, with the likes of Verizon and BT carrying out research and trials into the technology.

Governments are also getting involved. For example, 5G had a major role in the UK government’s recent Spring Budget announcement, after EU Digital Commissioner Andrus Ansip warned that post-Brexit Britain could suffer.

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