June 26, 2012

(PRNewswire) Mobile network operators are now scrambling to include Wi-Fi in their service offerings as a way to keep pace with the unprecedented growth in mobile data demand, according to the latest report from Heavy Reading Mobile Networks Insider (

Wi-Fi offload examines current drivers for Wi-Fi offload and assesses implementation options, as well as potential evolutionary paths this trend and related technologies may take. The report identifies 18 players in the vendor ecosystem and the components that are in use in a Wi-Fi offload scenario. It also explores evolving industry attitudes toward Wi-Fi, its migration from a user-centric to an operator-centric activity and the criteria that are most important to network operators as they pursue strategies for managed Wi-Fi offload.

"The usage of mobile data and content applications is growing much more explosively than anyone predicted, and is more than any 3G network can handle," says Dan O'Shea, research analyst with Heavy Reading Mobile Networks Insider and author of the report. "Beginning last year, many carriers started announcing their strategies to actively employ Wi-Fi offload to manage network usage and capacity."

The shift in service provider attitudes about Wi-Fi offload marks the transition of offloading from a customer-driven usage trend to an operator-driven managed activity, O'Shea says. "The remainder of this year and the near future are likely to witness a greater number of announcements of mobile carriers embracing Wi-Fi offload to address network traffic issues," he continues. "For now, however, deployments will vary greatly from one carrier to the next. A good number of them will likely continue to be simple, smart applications that focus on helping end-users discover and smoothly move over to Wi-Fi coverage."

Key findings of Network Operators Start to Figure Out Wi-Fi Offload include the following:

  • Shifting service provider attitudes about Wi-Fi mark the transition of offloading from a customer-driven usage trend to an operator-driven managed activity.
  • After exhausting their budgets on 3G/4G upgrades that don't guarantee relief, mobile carriers have realized that Wi-Fi offload can offer them an affordable solution.
  • The early user-driven smartphone movement and the increased acceptance of Wi-Fi offload as a carrier strategy have fueled a rapidly growing ecosystem of companies.