Mobile World Congress 2013 is undoubtedly a hotspot, pun intended, of all things technology and it is safe to say that the hot topic there is WiFi and Small Cell technology. With the existing and further expected explosion in mobile data usage  MNO’s are facing a big challenge of how to make sure they can cater to the demand. The convergence of WiFi and Small Cell are seen as a key technology and will undoubtedly be talked about a lot in 2013.

AT&T have released figures that confirm the trends with 2.7BN connections to their WiFi systems in 2012 which was more than double that of 2011 with only a 10% increase in the number of hotspots available. The biggest increase and the focus is coming from the retail and hospitality sectors.

“Big box retailers and hotels are finding innovative solutions to enhance the Wi-Fi experience for employees and customers. In 2012, more than 7 billion minutes were spent connected at AT&T Wi-Fi retail locations. On average, each connection lasted 45 minutes.  With prolonged connectivity and data usage, Wi-Fi connectivity is impacting retail venues’ bottom line while satisfying a necessity – a reliable connection for customers and employees”

With new standards on the horizon such as Hotspot 2.0 and Next Generation Hotspot the user experience should dramatically improve for roaming between celular/mobile data and WiFi