Business Model Still is a Problem for Hotspot 2.0 (Passport)

Hotspot 2.0 deployment remains slow, according to researchers at ABI Research. Lack of a clear and compelling business model likely is the problem.

“Operators, however, still lack the tools to generate revenue streams from this technology,” said Ahmed Ali, ABI Research analyst.

The other issue is that it remains unclear which access suppliers will gain most. In addition to Hotspot 2.0, also called Passpoint, mobile carriers and their suppliers are working on several other ways of bonding mobile spectrum to Wi-Fi, potentially making use of Passpoint less compelling or useful.

Passpoint still would be useful for providers of public hotspot service such as Boingo, or cable TV operators operating large public hotspot networks.

Still, an eventual move into mobility services by some large cable TV operators would raise the issue of relative importance.  Passpoint still makes sense for providing seamless
access to hotspot services.

But interworking with mobility services could well represent a parallel and equally-important capability.

Some mobile operators that have deployed the technology in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa and Hong Kong, have launched the service with VoLTE side by side, aiming for a complete seamless voice experience.

Finding a business model is not new for Wi-Fi: that problem has been present since the inception. Up to this point, some Internet service providers who have deployed large networks of Wi-Fi hotspots have used an indirect business model.

Access to the Wi-Fi networks essentially is an amenity that adds value to the fixed or mobile access service the ISP sells. A few companies have created “for-fee” hotspot services sold mostly to business users.

Passpoint or other methods of bonding mobile and Wi-Fi services will face similar issues. The capability is likely to be monetized indirectly, as a feature that adds value to an access service.

Globally, there will be nearly 341 million public Wi-Fi hotspots by 2018, up from 48 million hotspots in 2014, a sevenfold increase, according to a study conducted by iPass Inc. and Maravedis and Rethink.

Perhaps six million of those 341 million public hotspot locations will support Hotspot 2.0 features by about 2020, according to ABI Research.

Some service providers in 2014 expected substantial growth of their deployments.

Europe will have the greatest number of hotspots, with 115 million hotspots by 2018, with North America a close second, with 109 million hotspots, according to Cisco.

Globally, Wi-Fi connection speeds originated from dual-mode mobile devices will nearly double by 2019, according to Cisco.

The average Wi-Fi network connection speed (10.6 Mbps in 2014) will exceed 18.5 Mbps in 2019. North America will experience the highest Wi-Fi speeds, of 29 Mbps, by 2019

Hot Spot 2.0, also called Wi-Fi Certified Passpoint, is a standard for public Wi-Fi hotspots that enables seamless roaming among Wi-Fi networks and between Wi-Fi and mobile networks.

Developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance and the Wireless Broadband Association, the intent is to  to enable seamless hand-off of traffic  without requiring additional user sign-on and authentication.
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