Africa’s increasing mobile Web usage directly impacting Wi-Fi adoption

With the growing adoption of Internet-enabled feature phones and smartphones in Africa, it is a natural progression that network access technologies like Wi-Fi should see growth in their usage too.

According to several reports, the number of mobile subscriptions in Africa is more than 620 million. This in turn has had a direct impact on the mobile networks – putting pressure on the operators to ensure that they have capacity to account for the increasing demand for mobile data, aside from voice services.

Ruckus Wireless, a company that supplies a wide range of indoor and outdoor “Smart Wi-Fi” products for mobile operators, broadband service providers and corporate enterprises around the world, sees Wi-Fi adoption in Africa growing with solution providers committed to developing viable services that improve the way people communicate and work.

The company will be participating at the coming Nigeria Com event, which will focus on connectivity, networks and strategies for data services,

The event, said to be a unique environment for communications stakeholders, will offer a platform to debate the future development of the Nigerian telecoms landscape and to build business partnerships to leverage opportunities in the emerging ‘digital Nigeria’.

“Massive investment in infrastructure has laid the foundation for what Nigeria is currently witnessing – an innovation-led Internet service delivery. Previously cybercafés were the only gateways to the Internet – but today people can browse the Internet anytime, anywhere – mainly through mobile devices,” said Michael Fletcher, Sales Director for Ruckus Wireless Sub-Saharan Africa.

Fletcher believes it is on the back of this infrastructure that Internet providers are realising the value of personal hotspots and consumer hubs that can give Internet connections to as many as 5 Wi-Fi enabled devices on a single subscription.

The main reason for Wi-Fi’s growth is because it has proven to be the solution that works, according to Fletcher.

“It is a growing industry and the possibilities that it provides to consumers, enterprises and operators cannot be ignored. While there have been many developments in Africa with regards to the Wi-Fi industry, there is still a lot of work to be done,” he said.

“It is vital that Africa continues to grow and enhance its infrastructure to keep up with the latest developments and to ensure that we keep up with global developments. This includes free Wi-Fi in certain countries in Africa.”

“We are likely to see more and more countries making an effort to ensure that Wi-Fi is accessible to everyone who lives there – and Nigeria is no different. Earlier this year, we witnessed the first Wi-Fi-enabled flight in South Africa and are starting to witness 3G to Wi-Fi offload from the operators. With such developments, it has become clear that Africa understands the importance of Wi-Fi and the solutions available as it’s cheaper to deploy, faster, increases productivity and promotes mobility – everything the continent needs,” he concluded.

Nigeria Com is returning to Lagos for a third year and will be taking place at the Eko Hotel and Suite, Victoria Island, on September 26 and 27.

Ruckus Wireless will be exhibiting at stand number 25.

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