We all know the impact the explosion in mobile data usage over the last couple years has had on the ecosystem, but many tie the statistics back to carrier-based mobile data over cellular networks. Wi-Fi is increasingly taking the burden off already strained cell networks, and recent numbers issued by AT&T show just how huge Wi-Fi usage has gotten.
In the third quarter of this year, users made 106.9 million connections on AT&T’s US Wi-Fi network, exceeding the total of 85.5 million connections made during all of 2009. Q3 2010 connections were more than 320 percent higher versus Q3 2009. Just last quarter, the company only saw 53 million connections, so you can see how substantial these recent stats really are.
While connections are increasing at a substantial pace, revenues for AT&T aren’t what you would expect. The company says the collective total value of AT&T’s signed Wi-Fi customer contracts is approximately $200 million. Still, the company has now seen 228.1 million connections through the first nine months of 2010, on track to break 300 million connections in this year alone.
“In addition to smartphones, we saw that more and more devices like tablets, eReaders and netbooks were becoming Wi-Fi enabled and realized that Wi-Fi would play a major part in our ability to mobilize everything for our customers,” said Angie Wiskocil, senior vice president, AT&T Wi-Fi Services. “Now, our Wi-Fi services are a significant asset for AT&T and for the consumers and businesses we serve.”