Africa enters new era of Wi-Fi connectivity
Published on 10th November 2014
The increasing availability of lower cost smart mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones combined with a growing number of public Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the continent have resulted in Africa being well-positioned to take advantage of the new digital age driven by mobility, according to Ruckus Wireless, Inc.
Research by Informa Telecoms and Media indicate that the number of Wi-Fi hotspots globally will have grown from 1.3 million in 2011 to 5.8 million by 2015. This huge growth in wireless reinforces the importance this year's theme at AfricaCom, 'Africa's digital transformation,' will have in the market in the months to come.
"As devices become more affordable, both business users and consumers increasingly depend on their smartphones and tablets," says Michael Fletcher, sales manager for Ruckus Wireless, sub-Saharan Africa. "On the move, people rely on 3G and 4G cellular networks, but once stationary, they look for the throughput and unlimited data that Wi-Fi hotspots provide."
Fletcher believes that Hotspot 2.0 has a big part to play in this, and is already revolutionising how devices seamlessly bridge mobile cellular access with Wi-Fi connectivity. "By making the connection experience as automatic and secure as what is currently experienced on cellular networks, the numerous hotspot pockets around a country can be woven into a single service offering. The larger, easier to access, and more reliable this web of connectivity becomes, the more users will connect to carriers who embrace it, and the greater the opportunity for those providers who do to monetise the service," he says.
Fletcher. "Telecommunications is changing around the world, and in Africa, there is a clear sense of excitement about the opportunities Wi-Fi and technology like Hotspot 2.0 presents to carriers, large corporate enterprises, managed service providers, small businesses, and end-users alike."