Maravedis released the 2020 Industry Report commissioned once again by the Wireless Broadband Alliance. As Wi-Fi celebrates 20 years of success, it is clear that Wi-Fi platforms drive a whole new generation of use cases and revenues. The impact from innovation, investment and hard work by companies involved with the Wi-Fi industry and the supporting standards bodies and industry alliances, including the Wireless Broadband Alliance, will be powerfully felt in 2020.
Many important milestones have been crossed and will be crucial in the ‘5G era’ which is opening up. From Wi-Fi 6, which provides a step change in functionality and performance, to the opening of the 6GHz band and the proliferation of next generation/hotspot 2.0, Wi-Fi is playing a key role in shaping next generation wireless.
This year’s WBA Industry Survey gained inputs from across the ecosystem, including
many kinds of service providers, as well as equipment and device vendors. The respondents include personnel from a global cross-section of over 245 telecommunications service providers, technology vendors and enterprises.
Key takeaways from the 2020 report:
- The results from the survey showed that confidence in investing in license-exempt spectrum technologies has risen sharply since last year’s survey, with 79% of survey respondents saying they had more confidence than a year ago, or the same level. Key factors behind this progress include the advent of Wi-Fi 6, and the prospect of additional license-exempt spectrum especially in the 6 GHz band. In total, 90% of the survey base plan to deploy Wi-Fi 6 at some point, 66% starting in 2019 or 2020. And 78% said the 6 GHz extension was very important or important to their current or future network strategy. In considering that strategy for “network evolution and 5G”, 46% said the role of Wi-Fi/ unlicensed spectrum was the most important criterion, compared to 15% for the roadmap and standardization of 5G NR.
- Certification and deployment of Wi-Fi 6 networks started and will play a highly significant role in enabling transformative wireless services in many sectors from 2020 onwards. The Report examines the WBA’s critical work in providing deployment blueprints, field trials and other resources to accelerate the industry’s roll-out; and analyses the future part Wi-Fi 6 will play in the wider wireless platform, and in industries, such as manufacturing and automotive, with challenging requirements.
- The WBA built on core activities in roaming and security, with achievements such as a new release of WRIX (Wireless Roaming Intermediary eXchange) standards. The Report keeps us informed of the importance of these foundational work items, while demonstrating how they drive forward an ever-changing set of business cases.
- 40% of the respondents have deployed NGH/Passpoint by 2019 or plan to do so in 2020, while a further 37% do plan to implement the technology, but have not set a firm date.
- In-home Wi-Fi and general enterprise requirements were the top-placed Wi-Fi segments by providers, and in the enterprise category, the most significant verticals were office buildings (22% placed in their top three priorities), hospitality (21%); industrial (15%); and healthcare (13%).
- In terms of monetizing these sectors, the top three for current networks are Wi-Fi analytics (56% placed it in their top three), enterprise services (46%) and Wi-Fi roaming (43%). For the future, the top spot is taken by location-based services (49%), followed by roaming and analytics on 40% each.
- In three years’ time, a different picture is seen – IoT and vertical industry applications are expected to become the leading revenue driver, with 45% placing these in their top three. These are followed by cloud/AI-based Wi-Fi services (33%) and city-wide services (27%).