There is still a place for Wi-Fi even in the face of mobile data service technology, according to ABI Research.
"Despite the successful adoption of 3G and 4G mobile data services, the number of Wi-Fi hotspots has continued to proliferate and is anticipated to surpass 6.3 million by the end of 2013," said ABI Research industry analyst Khin Sandi Lynn. The number includes Wi-Fi hotspots deployed by fixed-line and mobile carriers as well as third-party operators such as Boingo and iPass.
In 2012, world carrier Wi-Fi deployments reached a total 4.9 million hotspots.
Wi-Fi has very much become a complement to 3G and 4G services and is now a mainstay of connectivity for the majority of smartphone, tablet, and laptop users because it is often free in many public Wi-Fi locations. This is particularly the case when a mobile user is roaming. Wi-Fi networks can help the user save a significant amount on mobile data roaming charges.
In addition to mobile and fixed carriers, third-party Wi-Fi network operators such as iPass, Boingo and Tomizone are also expanding their Wi-Fi hotspot coverage. Third-party operators install their own Wi-Fi hotspots as well as retail access to Wi-Fi hotspots managed by telecom operators.
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