Analyst firm, IDC, has thrown cold water on the hotspot hype, predicting that although worldwide commercial Wi-Fi locations are set to grow 57 per cent annually over the next five years, the market is still young and rife with uncertainty.
In a summary of a report, IDC analysts likened the hotspot market to a “technology gold rush” and warned that despite promises it was still in the early phases of deployment.
Most business models were not yet proven and the competitive landscape was very unclear, according to IDC’s Wireless Business Network Services program research manager, Keith Waryas.
The firm predicted the Wi-Fi market would evolve in two stages, with an emphasis on network expansion over the next two years, followed by three years of relationship building amongst carriers. During the second phase, carriers will make network roaming agreements and partnerships that will be essential to filling gaps in individual networks.
Still, the market could offer some sizzling revenue opportunities.
IDC estimated Wi-Fi revenue streams would grow 143 per cent annually over the next five years, while the number of users was due to double each year over that same period.
By 2008, it claimed hotspot users will approach 25 million.