Business WiFi: 2023 market driven by managed services

Sarah Battoue (UK)
06 Feb 2023

As at the beginning of each year, the leading research institutes publish reports and forecasts. This is an opportunity to take stock of the professional WLAN market, worldwide sales of WiFi equipment and the role of operators in the connectivity challenges facing businesses. 

Energy crisis, increasing internet traffic or the arrival of WiFi 7... The major trends of 2023

In 2023, the adoption of WiFi 6/6E will continue despite the economic and environmental context, driven in particular by the massive increase in video traffic:

  • It accounts for more than 60% of total internet traffic (Statista)
  • It would take 82 years to watch the videos added in one hour on YouTube (Le Blog du Modérateur)
  • Still on YouTube, more than one billion hours of video are viewed every day (Le Blog du Modérateur)
  • Revenue from video advertising on social networks has grown by 102% (The Moderator's Blog)

The Maravedis Institute predicts that WiFi 7 will arrive faster than initially planned (standardisation expected in May 2024) with the possible announcement of the first compatible smartphones at the Mobile World Congress at the end of February. The future standard promises an explosion in data rates (x 2.4) and lower latency, in line with the increasingly bandwidth-hungry use of the Internet. 

It is clear that in 2023, more than ever, the Internet will continue to revolutionise our daily lives, both for the flex office with the rise of teleworking and videoconferencing, and for leisure activities with major advances (virtual reality, augmented reality or 8K video streaming). At the same time, digital technology is an increasingly important source of energy consumption at a time when we are facing an unprecedented energy crisis.

The "as a service" model: driving competitiveness and efficiency

The latest update of the "Semiannual IT Services Tracker" report published by IDC at the end of 2022 showed that IT services spending in 2023 is expected to show resilience despite the global economic environment. Managed services will continue to be the fastest growing part of the ITS market in Western Europe, mainly due to digitalisation and security initiatives. IDC also confirms this market momentum with the growth in sales of business WiFi equipment. In the third quarter of 2022, access point sales reached $2.6 billion (+34.3% versus 2021). 

But why are outsourced managed services the answer to business challenges?

  1. Reliable, high-performance connectivity is a prerequisite for driving any digital transformation. Without this foundation, the digital services implemented will not work well, if at all. The operator's mission is therefore to provide this turnkey connectivity infrastructure - WiFi and Internet access - and to operate it so that its customers can concentrate on their business challenges.
  2. The telecom market is particularly demanding in terms of investment. The continuous acceleration of innovations forces market players to invest, particularly in improving their operational services, but also in R&D. By using a WiFi provider, customers benefit from the effects of purchasing terminals in volume. For example, Wifirst is the leading European managed WiFi operator (250,000 WiFi terminals operated on nearly 20,000 sites).
  3. Consulting is at the heart of the operator's added value, beyond its role as a network connectivity provider. For example, Wifirst deploys a single unified network that connects all business and customer innovations. The result: less equipment, deployment savings, operational savings and energy savings.