Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) survey has found that Wireless Fidelity Technology (WiFi) and the traditional mobile networks would play critical roles to meet the needs of consumers in an increased global demand for mobile devices and network connectivity.
Their findings were drawn from its recent survey result that was made available to the public.
Addressing Nigerian Journalists through teleconferencing on the business opportunities of WiFi connectivity in a country, Managing Director, Service Provider Practice of IBSG, Mr. Stuart Taylor said a lot of business opportunities abound in Nigeria through the landing of several submarine cables, but insisted that capacities from the cables must be linked to hinterland to address the last mile connectivity, through WiFi connectivity.
According to him, the demand for mobile devices had been on the increase across the globe and Wi-Fi Internet access capabilities has become the predominant access technology for such mobile devices.
He said there had also been an increase in ‘nomadic’ devices like laptops, tablets, and eReaders that almost exclusively connect to the Internet through Wi-Fi.
Speaking on key considerations, implications and potential strategies for service providers to capture Wi-Fi opportunities in Nigeria and Africa, Taylor said offering free public Wi-Fi access with a home broadband subscription would become an important factor in how service providers in Africa could capture Wi-Fi business opportunities to retain existing customers and attract new ones. According to him, “In Africa, hotspot visitors still usually have to pay to surf, and while some hotspots offer free access, the service is still often erratic because they have to find ways to manage the high bandwidth cost.”
He advised African service providers on the need to incorporate Wi-Fi as an integral part of their portfolio utilising pricing, marketing, and new technological solutions to create compelling and integrated offers and solutions of value to mobile users, if they must remain competitive in the market.
Director Cisco IBSG for Emerging Markets, Mr. Peter Ford, who also spoke at the teleconferencing, challenged governments throughout Africa to see it as a mandate to provide its citizens with universal access to broadband connectivity. “This has already resulted in an increase of mobile devices in several countries, putting service providers and mobile operators in the ideal position to take advantage of the high demand for smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices that generate a significant amount of mobile data,” Ford said.
He advised service providers to encourage the use of Wi-Fi in the home by creating solutions and incentives that could encourage users to offload mobile traffic at home, while retaining the ability to provide a unique and differentiated customer experience.