Ever since Sprint launched one of the world's first 4G networks in the US, using their WiMax technology, we've gradually become accustomed to super-fast speeds no matter where we are. Fast forward to today and 4G LTE networks are prevalent across much of North America, Europe and they're starting to become more widespread in parts of Asia. Even so, WiFi continues to be one of the most-used ways that people get online, and that trend is only going to continue. According to a new report from Juniper Research, WiFi usage will account for 60% or more of all mobile data by 2019.
How much data we're talking about isn't measured in such trifling units as Gigabytes, or even Terabytes but Petabytes. 115,000 of them to be precise, which works out as 115,000,000,000 Gigabytes, which is a whole lot of 2GB of monthly allowances. That 2GB number is often what the average consumer ends up with when they sign up for a new contract, and while it's growing to around 5GB or more a month, you don't really get that much data for your money, anymore. Especially not in an age where we're accustomed to streaming high-definition TV and movies as well as all the music we can listen to.
The new Mobile Data Offload & Onload: Wi-Fi, Small Cell & Network Strategies 2015-2019 not only has a gigantic name, but also detailed the effect that WiFi can have. In a small way, stores that offer Free WiFi become a regular haunt for those looking to spend time online, and at the other end of the spectrum there are companies that operate whole networks of WiFi Hotspots. These networks often fill in the gaps that the wireless carriers leave in their 3G or 4G coverage, while also driving emerging approaches to wireless, like WiFi Calling. The more WiFi hotspots there are, the more people will start to adopt WiFi Calling, which could put pressure on the likes of AT&T and Verizon to improve their networks.
Fun facts from the report include the info that by 2019, North America and Western Europe will account for 50% of all mobile data traffic, and that in India operators are close to seeing 100% year-on-year growth when it comes to data usage.