And, according to research by Juniper, mobile data offload – or data migration from a mobile to Wi-Fi network – offers a number of key benefits to industry stakeholders.
Juniper says that offload not only addresses the issue of patchy coverage, but also has the potential for the creation of new services such as VoWi-Fi (Wi-Fi Calling) and to increase the usage of existing 3G/4G services.
But despite the potential benefits, Juniper author of the research, Nitin Bhas, cautions that Wi-Fi offload brings challenges to operators of effective deployment and return on investment (ROI).
Bhas also says that additionally, operators are also converting residential customers to community hotspot providers, especially in the US, and according to Wi-Fi service provider iPass, there were nearly 40 million community hotspots in 2014 and the company expects this to more than double this year to nearly 90 million.
Other global mobile data traffic highlights from the Juniper report include:
• Global mobile data traffic generated from devices including smartphones, featurephones and tablets forecast to exceed 197,000PB in 2019
• Estimates global smartphone data consumption to be nearly twice the amount of tablet traffic in 2015
• Developing markets such as the Indian Subcontinent are forecast to witness higher growth rates and increased market share of the total mobile data traffic over the next 5 years; with operators in India already witnessing close to 100% y-o-y growth in data usage
• North America and West Europe will together account for over 50% of the global mobile data being offloaded in 2019.
The whitepaper, 'Wi-Fi Calling operators' is available to download from the Juniper Research website together with further details of the new research.