A new EU study on the impact of traffic off-loading and related technological trends on the demand for wireless broadband spectrum has shown that people are flocking to use Wi-Fi internet. With the trend set to continue, the study recommends that extra spectrum be made available for Wi-Fi across Europe to support the momentum.
The study reveals that in 2012 71% of all wireless data traffic that was delivered to smartphones and tablets in the EU was delivered via Wi-Fi. It is estimated that this figure will grow to 78% by 2016.It is predicted that in 2016 up to €200 billion in network cost reductions can be expected from data traffic offloading chiefly to Wi-Fi.
Mobile data traffic is estimated to grow at 66% annually for the period 2012-2017, but at the same time almost 80% of all traffic to mobile devices is predicted to come over Wi-Fi. The reason: most smartphone use occurs at home or in the office.
The study points out that EU countries like the UK, France or Germany have among the highest household penetration of Wi-Fi in the world; however other countries are not so well covered.
The cheaper cost to consumers of using Wi-Fi hotspots is changing behaviour, and the study recommends extra spectrum be made available across the EU to support this rising demand.
Specifically, the study recommends to make spectrum from 5150 MHz to 5925 MHz available globally for Wi Fi, to continue making the 2.6 GHz and the 3.5 GHz bands fully available for mobile use, and to consult on future licensing options for 3.5 GHz and other potential new licensed mobile frequency bands.
The study team will present the conclusions of the study in a public workshop on 3 September 2013 in Brussels.
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