A wider Wi-Fi footprint

Dylan Bushell-Embling
Telecom Asia

Wi-Fi networks are spreading throughout the world, proving an increasingly popular method for wireless access to the internet, according to a new report from Wi-Fi crowdsourcing company WeFi.

And with handset makers developing more smartphones with embedded Wi-Fi, using Symbian, Android and other smartphone platforms, the handset is catching up to the laptop in terms of Wi-Fi data consumption.

Wi-Fi networks are becoming ubiquitous, the report states - WeFi's Wi-Fi scanning client software has now detected over 56 million access points worldwide, with around 100,000 unique Wi-Fi networks added to its database per day.

While hotspots are proliferating across Asia, according to Canalys analyst senior Tong-Yen Lau, the development of Wi-Fi networks is fragmented in the region.

"Singapore on one side of the scale offers free Wi-Fi access across the whole island, whereas countries like China and South Korea are still building up Wi-Fi networks," he said.

According to ABI Research VP for forecasting Jake Saunders, Asia is quite an open Wi-Fi market, "but in terms of number of Wi-Fi hotspots, the market tends to be dominated by incumbent telecom operators."

There are a number of specialty Wi-Fi providers in the region, he said, but with a few exceptions their presence is small.

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