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Standalone Mobile Hotspots Gaining New Adoption

A mobile Internet access hotspot, a device that connects to a wireless broadband service and provides a shared Wi-Fi LAN capability, is a relatively new concept -- with the first devices appearing during the last two years.

Yet, the number and types of mobile hotspots is growing almost daily and In-Stat now forecasts that revenue from standalone mobile hotspot devices will approach $500 million by the end of 2010.

Mobile hotspot service revenue is projected to reach into the tens of billions of dollars annually.

"Mobile hotspot device shipments are expected to grow for several years, but we expect some jockeying for the top position occurring between device categories," says Allen Nogee, Principal Analyst at In-Stat.

Smartphones with embedded mobile hotspots have already cut into shipments for battery-powered mobile hotspot devices. Automotive hotspot devices might do the same. Standalone mobile hotspot adoption will increase as they're positioned as home gateway devices -- mobile operators will sell these broadband services for in-home applications.

In-Stat's latest market study reveals the following:

- Smartphone mobile hotspot functionality allows a mobile operator to typically charge an additional $20 per month.

- While many automobiles will have mobile hotspot capabilities, only a small percentage of these car owners will activate their hotspot and pay for monthly services.

- A large market opportunity exists for mobile operators to provide 4G WiMAX or LTE broadband services to home users and compete with DSL and cable providers.

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