Infonetics: Cisco maintains lead over Ruckus, Ericsson in carrier Wi-Fi market
Overall, carrier Wi-Fi equipment revenue, including carrier Wi-Fi access points and Wi-Fi hotspot controllers, increased 53 percent year-over-year in 2012.
"The carrier Wi-Fi space is red hot right now, driven by the explosion in demand from mobile operators using Wi-Fi to augment their 3G/4G deployments and offload a portion of mobile data traffic to unlicensed spectrum," said Richard Webb, directing analyst for microwave and carrier Wi-Fi at Infonetics.
The research firm expects dual mode cellular/Wi-Fi access points to experience significant growth, as more mobile operators build out their Wi-Fi networks.
The Asia-Pacific region, especially China, Indonesia and India, are expected to be the strongest drivers of Wi-Fi gear growth through 2017.
Mobile operators are in the midst of a "land grab," claiming prime small cell locations by deploying carrier Wi-Fi and then later replacing the Wi-Fi access points with dual mode 3G/Wi-Fi and 4G/Wi-Fi small cells, explained Infonetics.
"Mobile operators by and large have held Wi-Fi at arm's length, fearing that it could cannibalize their opportunity to derive data revenues. Now operators are embracing Wi-Fi to offload excess data and enhance the broadband experience for users. For the long-term success of carrier Wi-Fi, though, integration with the mobile network is key," said Webb.
- see Infonetics Research stats