Wi-Fi hotspots projected to increase by 47% in 2006

The number of commercial Wi-Fi hotspots will grow 47% worldwide to 143,700 in 2006, according to new data from ABI Research.

While 74% of these sites still are found in North America and Europe, ABI says the Asia-Pacific region is growing rapidly. Europe is the market leader with more than 57,000 hotspots.

“By 2011, Asia-Pacific will surpass Europe and North America in the number of Wi-Fi hotspots,” says Stan Schatt, ABI’s vice president and research director.

The growing Wi-Fi hotspots market is fueling demand for Wi-Fi access points. ABI reports that more than 675,000 access points will be shipped this year for use in hotspots.

ABI adds there also has been a dramatic increase in the number of Wi-Fi sessions per subscriber. This means subscribers are lingering longer and spending more time e-mailing and surfing the Internet.

Also, ABI believes that voice over Wi-Fi will become an attractive choice for many major hotel chains, both for their guests and for their staffs. Schatt notes that by 2010 the hospitality industry will offer more than 109,000 Wi-Fi hotspots.

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