Hotspot Usage is Increasingly Shifting Away From Notebooks and Laptops and Toward Handhelds

Wi-Fi handset shipments have exploded over the past year, and will continue to show strong growth over the next several years. With the increasing prevalence of Wi-Fi enabled handsets, hotspot usage by handheld devices has increased significantly. As a percentage of total connects, handhelds increased from 20% in 2008 to 35% in 2009. By 2011 handhelds are anticipated to account for half of hotspot connects reports In-Stat (

Other factors are affecting handheld usage growth as well.  There is a predominance of mobile carriers in the hotspot market, resulting in promotion of Wi-Fi enabled handset devices on their networks. New dual-mode Wi-Fi phones are coming to the market.  Growth in applications, such as content download, or even more so VoFi, will drive usage of handheld devices over the coming years. Finally, markets, such as China, are opening for hotspots that have previously restricted Wi-Fi usage on handhelds.

The ubiquity of Wi-Fi has created hotspot coverage as an expected amenity at many places of business. While consumer or leisure users do not often carry a laptop, they do have Wi-Fi enabled handhelds and are using these devices to access hotspots. This, coupled with the service being bundled with mobile plans, is making hotspot access much more consumer-oriented compared to the service's former business focus.

Recent research by In-Stat found the following:

  • In-Stat estimates that hotspot usage will increase in 2009 by 47%, bringing total worldwide connects to 1.2 billion.

  • Wi-Fi handset shipments have increased significantly over the past several years. From 2007 to 2008, shipments increased by over 50%. This growth is a result from increased phone functionality, falling price points, and carrier promotion.

  • Wi-Fi-enabled entertainment device, such as cameras, gaming devices, and personal media players (PMPs) shipments will increase from 108.8 million in 2009 to 177.3 million in 2013.

This Market Alert is drawn from the In-Stat research,  Wi-Fi Hotspots: Cellular Handsets and Portable Devices Drive a Market Renaissance (#IN0904521WBB), which covers the worldwide market for Wi-Fi hotspots. It includes:

  • Forecasts of mobile handsets with embedded Wi-Fi sales through 2013.
  • Forecasts of hotspot venue and usage growth for North America, Asia, and Europe through 2013.
  • Results and analysis of an In-Stat consumer survey.
  • Provider segmentation and deployment analysis.
  • Profiles of major players including AT&T, Swisscom, Boingo, iPass, and WeRoam.
  • Discussion of emerging applications.
For a free sample of the report and more information, please contact a sales representative:

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The price is $3,495 (US).

This research is part of In-Stat's Wireless Broadband Evolution service, which provides end-to-end coverage of the technologies and strategies for the development and deployment of future wireless technologies, such as HSPA, LTE, WiMAX and Enhanced Wireless DSL. The coverage includes the infrastructure, devices, services, and subscribers for wireless broadband.

Related In-Stat research:

Wi-Fi in Entertainment Devices: Wi-Fi Becomes the Multimedia Interface of Choice

Wi-Fi in Mobile Phones: Dual Mode Becomes the In Thing

Global Wi-Fi Chipset Forecast and Analysis: 2007 to 2013

Delayed Departure: Will In-Flight Broadband Take Off?

Wi-Fi in Consumer Electronics: The Swiss Army Knife Technology

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