Data traffic volume in mobile networks has grown exponentially over the last few years, and will continue to do so, driven by a growing penetration of mobile data-hungry devices such as smartphones and tablet computers, as well as by operators continuing to make significant investments to upgrade their 3G networks to 4G. According to Cisco, traffic from wireless devices will exceed traffic from wired devices by 2016, and global mobile data traffic will increase 18-fold between 2011 and 2016, at a CAGR of 78%. This increase will be largely driven by subscribers in urban and metro areas around the world. These areas, according to Ericsson, will generate 60% of all mobile traffic by 2017, but they will only be home to 30% of the world’s population.
Almost every modern laptop and tablet computer and most modern smartphones have built-in Wi-Fi, and the number of these devices is growing quickly. In light of its seemingly ubiquitous presence, the fact that it is standards-based and because it can leverage unlicensed spectrum, Wi-Fi has become mobile operators’ preferred data-offloading technology and a cost-effective way to manage the growing demand for bandwidth. Wi-Fi technology has served as a vehicle to increase operators’ network footprint, increase their quality of service (QoS) and, ultimately, enhance their customers’ quality of experience (QoE) while keeping costs under control.
In this Insider, we will examine the competitive and economic forces that are driving carrier-grade Wi-Fi deployments in Latin America. We will focus on the major mobile markets in the region, with a special focus on the Brazilian mobile market. We will also discuss the challenges and benefits that operators can get when rolling out their Wi-Fi networks. The report then concludes with case studies that depict some recent Wi-Fi offload deployments in Brazil, a summary of key highlights and a set of recommendations.
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