Hotspot Usage to Reach 120 Billion Connects by 2015

September 27, 2011

Over the past few years, the growth in the hotspot market has largely been driven by wireless and broadband providers embracing Wi-Fi as an added enhancement to core services within their portfolio. As usage grows new research shows that there will be almost 120 billion connects in 2015.

The report conducted by In-Stat shows that worldwide hotspot venues will increase to over 1 million by 2013 and will continue to be a key factor in mobile operator’s data offloading strategies. Additionally, notebooks continue to account for the majority of connects but the rate of smartphone and tablet access is increasing rapidly.

“The hotspot market is in a continuous state of flux. Now over a decade old, the market is still undergoing significant changes in usage and business models,” says Amy Cravens, Senior Analyst. “Wi-Fi hotspots have become a service used to attract customers to other product offerings, rather than a standalone offering. Whether the product is broadband, mobile service, or a cup of coffee, Wi-Fi is being layered on top of core offerings as a competitive differentiator.”

Additional In-Stat research, Wi-Fi Hotspots: The Mobile Operator’s 3G Offload Alternative, covers how hotspots are being used, the frequency, and the occasion for usage. These all continue to transition due to a variety of factors, including: wide-scale adoption of Wi-Fi-enabled handsets and a blending of mobile and Wi-Fi experiences and further integration of Wi-Fi into mobile operator strategies.

Furthermore, the report also states that over the coming years there will be automatic log in and seamless access as NGH technologies are implemented, shifts in payment models will see free and bundled access and new application potential will see video and location based services.

If you are interested in finding out more on the above, Data Offloading Strategies takes place in Barcelona in December and will cover how to implement and leverage WiFi and small cells to cost-effectively expand network coverage and capacity whilst delivering an optimal customer experience.


Mobily and STC launch first commercial LTE networks in the Middle East

September 14, 2011

Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and Mobily have become the first operators in the Middle East to commercially deploy LTE networks.

The operators, which announced the deployment within a day of each other, have said that their LTE networks will be double the speed of the previous 3G networks and is designed around the growth in mobile data, not voice calls.

Saudi Arabia’s mobile phone penetration is the third highest in the world at 188% with the majority crunching through a vast amount of mobile data, making the migration to LTE an integral move for both of the operators who, between them, account for 80% of Saudi’s mobile subscribers.

LTE Deployment Strategies

Speaking ahead of the launch, Said Jamil bin Abdullah Al-Melhem, president of STC, commented: ‘The company continues its pioneering role, and its ongoing quest to provide the most services and the latest and highest international standards. And today [STC] offers the latest mobile communication networks, 4G LTE. The information revolution is coming and to provide a quantum leap in the speed of data transfer – wherever the client – to reach to top speeds of 100Mbps’.

Mobily confirmed on launch yesterday that their LTE coverage will exceed 32 cities and towns in Saudi Arabia by mid October including the capital Riyadh, which represents 85% of the most populated areas.

STC will be speaking about their commercial LTE deployment and Telecoms IQ’s LTE Deployment Strategies conference taking place in London in November. If you would like to view the full speaker line up and secure your place, please visit the event website.


Australian telcos told to improve customer service or else

September 9, 2011

Australian telcos have been given a short, sharp kick up the backside today as the Australian Communications and Media Authority announced that they all have just five months to improve customer service strategies or risk facing hefty fines.

Key areas which the regulator would like improving include bill shock, confusing contracts and slow resolution of complaints. Additionally, operators are being encouraged to interact with customers in more immediate formats such as text messaging and sending email when customers near their limits.

The ACMA announced the new strategy in order to get operators to focus on delivering a better customer experience after a 12 month investigation into the industry’s consumer code practice. The results showed that customers were frustrated over billing and a general lack of customer service.

If operators have not taken ACMA’s recommendations into consideration and started to improve aspects of customer experience then they are likely to be hit with fines of up to AUS$250,000.

So, how can Australian operators ensure that they are providing an adequate customer experience to their customers? Read our entry from July.

If you are interested in attending conferences which address the issue of improving customer experience and reducing churn, then we have two great conferences coming up:

Customer Experience Management in Telecoms
Customer Segmentation & Churn Management