* Mobile users to finally get fast Internet access at 11Mbit/s
* Bluetooth sidelined in WLAN market by developing IEEE 802.11 standards
* 90 000 hot-spot locations to be enabled in the next five years
* WLANs to take up to 10% of 2.5/3G data revenue from mobile operators.
CAMBRIDGE, UK, November 26, 2001 - Fast access to the Internet, at speeds 100 times greater than over a GSM phone, will soon be a reality for mobile workers, according to a new report, Public Wireless LAN Access: Market Forecasts, from Analysys, the global advisor on telecoms and new media (www.analysys.com).
Public wireless local area network (WLAN) services enable users to connect laptops and PDAs to their Internet service providers (ISP) or company intranets at speeds of up to 11Mbit/s. According to report author, Ross Pow, such services are now becoming available at airports, hotels and cafes in countries such as Austria, Germany, Norway and Sweden.
Analysys forecasts that the appeal of these services means that by 2006, there will be over 20 million users of public WLAN services in Europe (chart is available to journalists on request), generating over EUR3 billion of revenues for public WLAN operators. Today, there are between 10 000 and 20 000 active WLAN users, the majority of whom are in the USA.
A major impetus for the development of this market, according to Analysys, is the industry-wide adoption of a common technical platform based on the IEEE 802.11b 'WiFi' standard. Rapidly growing numbers of devices, such as PDAs, phones and laptops, are now being shipped with cards already installed that enable access to public WLAN networks. In addition, the author states that around 100 000 companies worldwide have adopted WLAN technology for use in corporate networks.
"The emergence of 802.11b as the dominant technology for public WLANs means that other wireless standards, such as Bluetooth, will be sidelined to some extent in this market," says Pow.
The author stresses, however, that there are still some issues to be resolved, notably the ability of public WLAN operators to provide wide coverage for potential users. The experience of the US market suggests that in Europe public WLAN operators should pursue roaming agreements with each other at an early stage to minimize the cost of deploying access gateways in every possible hot-spot location. In total, Analysys forecasts that there will be more than 90 000 hot-spot locations in Western Europe by 2006.
As originally stated in its August 2001 report, Public WLAN Access: A Threat to Mobile Operators?, WLANs do pose a significant threat to 2.5/3G operators. Analysys estimates that, by 2006, around 10% of 2.5/3G subscribers will also make use of public WLAN services, with mobile operators facing the prospect of losing up to 10% of their data revenue.
Written by Ross Pow, the report presents revenue forecasts to 2006 for public WLAN services in major European markets (France, Germany, Sweden and the UK), and reviews the strategies and business cases for different players in the market, including mobile operators, fixed-line operators and new entrants.
The report is available in two packages, priced at: GBP650/USD975 for single-user electronic access; GBP900/USD1350 for single-user electronic access + one paper copy + one hour of Analyst Support. For more information, telephone +44 (0)1223 341300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
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