Monday, April 9, 2012

Profiting from the Rise of Wi-Fi

New, Innovative Business Models for Service Providers 

The insatiable demand for smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices is generating staggering amounts of mobile data. In parallel, the use of Wi-Fi for Internet access is exploding as more mobile devices are Wi-Fi enabled, the number of public hotspots expands, and user acceptance grows. Service providers (SPs) now realize Wi-Fi must be an important part of their strategy to manage growing data loads on their networks and meet increased customer expectations. While operators are learning to accept the role of Wi-Fi, they still struggle with ways to turn a cost of doing business into profitable business models. .

Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) has consulted with leading SPs from around the world to develop and evaluate sixteen new, innovative Wi-Fi business models that can provide a reasonable return on investment (ROI). Opportunities for monetization fall into four broad categories: (1) business effectiveness, (2) end-user services, (3) inter-carrier wholesale, and (4) value-added services.

This paper describes and categorizes each model, quantifies the business value delivered, and aligns business models with industry segments.  Most important, it arms SPs with guidelines for setting priorities and determining which approach is best for making money without wires.