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Wi-Fi Hotspot Leadership in Europe and North America

While the local venue growth of Wi-Fi hotspots has been, and continues to be, a leading market indicator, usage growth has been phenomenal. As an example, in the U.S. market AT&T reported a fivefold increase from 1Q09 to 1Q10.

Other broadband service providers have experienced similarly strong growth in usage. In-Stat now forecasts that worldwide annual hotspot connects will grow to over 11 billion by 2014.

"Venue growth will begin to wane over the next several years as operator networks reach a critical mass and desirable locations become saturated. Growth in usage is expected to remain strong over the forecast period," says Amy Cravens, Market Analyst at In-Stat.

In the past, usage growth has largely been tied to venue growth -- i.e., the more venues the more usage -- and the rate of usage per venue was fairly constant. Going forward, however, usage growth will be driven by increases in connects per day at each venue.

This usage and application is a result, at least in part, to a broadening base of Wi-Fi-enabled consumer electronic devices.

In-Stat's latest market study findings include:

- Worldwide annual hotspot connects, or sessions, will reach over 2 billion by the end of 2010 with annual hotspot connects anticipated to grow to over 11 billion by 2014.

- Asia-Pacific will have about one quarter of the worldwide hotspot venues over the forecast period.

- By 2012, handheld mobile multimedia-capable (smartphone, tablet, etc) devices are anticipated to account for half of hotspot connects.

- The total worldwide hotspot market size will swell to 319,200 venues by year-end.

- Annual venue growth is expected to remain strong over the next several years, but will begin to slow in latter forecast years.

- Europe and North America are the largest hotspot markets based on usage (annual connects).

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