Wi-Fi adoption is growing in Africa with solution providers committed to developing viable services that improve the way we communicate and work, says Michael Fletcher, Sales Director for Ruckus Wireless sub-Saharan Africa at Ruckus Wireless.
The increasing use of mobile devices in Africa can be attributed to the fact that most people use them to access the Internet.
The continent boasts more than 620 million* mobile subscriptions and certainly this has also had a direct impact on the networks – putting additional pressure on the operators to ensure that they have capacity to account for the increasing demand for mobile data.
“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,” says Fletcher. “It is on the back of this infrastructure that Internet providers** are seeing the value of personal hotspots, consumer hubs that can give Internet connections to as many as 5 Wi-Fi enabled devices on a single subscription.”
The reason? Wi-Fi has proven to be the solution that works. Continues 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. 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.”
Retaining a focus on connectivity, networks and strategies for data services, Ruckus Wireless will be participating at this year’s Nigeria Com – a unique environment for all stakeholders to debate the future development of the Nigerian telecoms landscape and to build business partnerships to leverage opportunities in the emerging ‘digital Nigeria’.
“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; it’s cheaper to deploy, faster, increases productivity and promotes mobility – everything the continent needs,” concludes Fletcher.
*The future of education in Africa is mobile, BBC Future, August 2012
**Impacts of telecoms infrastructure on Internet Growth in Nigeria, The Guardian, 2012