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Wi-Fi Hotspot Growth Shifting to APAC Region

A new ABI Research forecast finds that in 2006 the number of commercial Wi-Fi hotspots will grow by 47 percent worldwide to 143,700. While almost three-quarters of these sites (74 percent) are still found in North America and Europe, the Asia Pacific region is growing very rapidly.

"By 2011 the Asia Pacific region will surpass both Europe and North America in the number of Wi-Fi hotspots," says vice president and research director Stan Schatt.

But for the moment, Europe is still the market leader with over 57 thousand hotspots. One major driver of Wi-Fi hotspots is retail establishments. A prominent example is McDonalds, which has moved to add hotspots to 17 percent of its 4,000 locations.

The growing Wi-Fi hotspot market is fueling a demand for Wi-Fi access points. More than 675,000 access points will be shipped this year specifically for use in hotspots.

Not only are hotspot deployments and their subscriber numbers growing, but ABI Research notes that there also has been a dramatic increase in the number of Wi-Fi sessions per subscriber. This means that subscribers are lingering longer and spending more time online.

With almost 40 thousand hotspots worldwide, the hospitality industry continues to embrace Wi-Fi. ABI Research believes that voice over Wi-Fi will become a very attractive choice for many major hotel chains, both for their guests and for their staff. Schatt notes that by 2010 the hospitality industry will offer more than 109,000 Wi-Fi hotspots.

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