The survey, conducted among more than 2000 users of both smartphones and tablets in France, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, illustrates the hunger among users for a more seamless experience in public Wi-Fi networks. Respondents were given a description of the seamless user experience enabled by Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint equipment.
Among the findings:
- Eighty-four percent of respondents are interested in having seamless discovery and authentication in hotspots
- Seventy-four percent are willing to switch service providers in order to gain access to these advanced features
- Ninety-one percent are likely to stay with their current service provider if they offered a service which incorporated these features.
The carrier Wi-Fi opportunity extends well beyond smartphones. Tablet usage in homes and on public Wi-Fi networks is on the rise and approaching rates similar to those of smartphone usage. According to the study, more than one-third of users connect tablets to public Wi-Fi networks today and fifty-seven percent reported that they expect to connect their tablets via hotspot networks three years from now.
The next release of Passpoint, planned for 2014, adds functionality to enable non-SIM device enrollment on-the-spot, extending user subscriptions to additional devices such as tablets, and enabling the enrollment of new subscribers.
Seamless Wi-Fi roaming is currently in trials among numerous service providers worldwide, and it presents another opportunity for service providers. Ninety-two percent of the survey respondents connect either a tablet or smartphone while traveling, leveraging a combination of cellular and Wi-Fi networks both within and outside their home service provider’s control. Fifty-eight percent of respondents stated they would be willing to pay more for a Wi-Fi roaming offering from their provider, and eighty percent agreed with the statement "I wish my service provider could be with me when I travel."
"With innovations coming from the industry, the opportunity for advanced Wi-Fi to drive business value for service providers is clear," said Mike Roberts, Principal Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media. "Passpoint-certified equipment and inter-provider Wi-Fi roaming enable fixed and mobile providers to add new Wi-Fi-only subscribers, expand share of wallet among existing subscribers, and deliver a roaming experience that exceeds subscriber expectations."