How Much Mobile Traffic Can be Offloaded to Wi-Fi?

How much smart phone traffic can be offloaded to Wi-Fi is uncertain, at this point, though it already is clear that perhaps a majority of at-home smart phone usage routinely is shifted to Wi-Fi access. 

The bigger question is how much "out and about" usage might be shifted to Wi-Fi, particularly in urban areas. That might affect the deployment of small cells that also support Wi-Fi. 

Softbank in Japan has tested the offload potential of dense Wi-Fi deployments and apparently has concluded that less than 25 percent of mobile data traffic can be offloaded to public Wi-Fi in the long term.

Those estimates correspond with figures Boingo suggests. Boingo believes about 22 percent of mobile traffic will be offloaded to Wi-Fi by about 2016.

Others might disagree. Cisco analysts say as much as 30 percent of mobile traffic could occur on Wi-Fi networks. And analysts at Juniper Research think more than 60 percent of mobile device traffic could be offloaded to Wi-Fi means by about 2015.

Others say studies show as much as 70 percent of smart phone traffic uses a Wi-Fi connection.

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