Week in research: Carrier WiFi on growth track; Japan ranks 3rd for broadband

Carrier WiFi equipment hits its stride: BelAir Networks, Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Ruckus Wireless accounted for more than two-thirds of carrier WiFi equipment revenue in 2011, Infonetics Research said, in a year that saw global revenue grow 35 percent. "The carrier WiFi equipment market has grown consistently since 2007, initially driven by exploding demand from mobile operators augmenting their 3G and 4G deployments with WiFi hotspot services," said Richard Webb, directing analyst for microwave, mobile offload, and mobile broadband services. "The strongest new growth driver is mobile operators deploying carrier WiFi to offload a portion of their mobile data traffic. Additionally, fixed-line operators and ISPs continue to deploy WiFi to extend existing WiFi hotspot services, cable and DSL operators use WiFi as an enhancement for their broadband services, and many operators will soon be upgrading their existing access points to new WiFi standards, such as the forthcoming 802.11ac protocol." At its current double-digit growth rate, the market could hit $2.1 billion by 2016, the research firm said. News release

Infonetics Research carrier WiFi

Japan broadband going strong: Japan ranks third in the world--just behind the United States and China--for broadband, with 36 million lines in place, according to Research and Markets. Built on the back of DSL technology starting in 2003, the island nation has continued to grow its available broadband technology. While the number of DSL lines has long since reached its zenith and has declined to just 20 percent of the market, Japan now boasts the second largest FTTx market in the world--about 30 percent of the global market--with over 21 million subscriptions. The country's early adopter tendency has led to widespread acceptance of triple-play packages, and its next-generation network infrastructure has driven VoIP subscriptions to over 25 million, with Softband and NTT leading the market. News release

UK broadband challenge: The UK's new rules for advertising broadband speeds has resulted in more confusion for the customer, not less, said Broadband Genie, an independent broadband, mobile broadband and smartphone comparison website geared toward consumers. According to the rules, which went into effect on April 1, ISPs can no longer claim "up to" speeds which cannot be achieved by at least 10 percent of its customers. But instead of clearing up the speeds customers are actually getting, customers now have a confusing list of varying speed estimates. "In many cases the download speeds quoted are still far in excess of the rates a user is likely to see in practice," says Broadband Genie editor Matt Powell. "While at the same time it hasn't made things any clearer for someone who simply wants the best service for their money--in fact, it's now worse." News release

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