Massive growth forecast for Wi-FiJOHANNESBURG – LOCAL information and telecommunications experts projected public Wi-Fi installations to grow by more than 100 percent in Africa.
Dennis Magaya, Chief Executive Officer of Rubie Technologies, said this rollout would further accelerate the demand for social media.
The predictions were in line with global recent global research, which said global Wi-Fi hotspot numbers were expected to grow to more than 340 million which represents nearly one hotspot for every 20 people on earth by 2018.
Magaya said Wi-Fi offered opportunities for affordable high quality internet which was also critical to public sector.
“There are countries where over and above private sector, the government or state owned telecoms companies are aiming to achieve national Wi-Fi rollout.
“There will be more public Wi-Fi hotspots which will drive mass market applications for e-Government services, retail services, hospitality services and more,” he explained.
He however said Wi-Fi had its on challenges.
“The first challenge is that Wi-Fi carries a “Free of Charge” tag which is difficult to shake-off in the consumer mindset. There are some business models structured around “Free of Charge Wi-Fi,” he said.
Michael Fletcher, Sales Director for Ruckus Wireless sub-Saharan Africa concurred.
Fletcher said as a result of the expected growth Wi-Fi in many ways was fast becoming a utility.
“It’s like running water or electricity – you expect it to be there, and if you don’t have it, you are at a serious quality-of-life disadvantage,” he said.
Fletcher said 2015 would hail in more public Wi-Fi.
“The requirement is growing across public venues, stadiums and general consumer areas and this demand will likely be driven more by social media this year as consumers require more and more access.
“Social media driven Wi-Fi models will be free in some form or another as the freemium model will likely be used to drive uptake,” said Fletcher.
Fletcher said Africa was likely to see an increase in entire towns and cities that are looking to get connected.
“Huge strides have already been made in Tshwane, for example, and we are likely to see an increase in connected city initiatives in Cape Town and Johannesburg – not to mention African countries including Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda,” he added.
– CAJ News
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