Our increasingly digitalized lifestyles mean that there’s a constant need to ‘check-in’ with the plethora of social media platforms. Researchers at Harvard explain that it is the release of dopamine in our brains that gives that feeling of reward every time we check our phones to find a positive social interaction. As consumers, we cannot help feeling pleased when opening our phone and instantly interacting with our social lives over and over, again and again.
Now imagine how our brains respond when we open our phones and cannot get connected to the apps and services that are so dear to us. Connection challenges cause complete and total frustration because we expect the immediate reward but we don’t get it. App developers know how to deliver content to maximize the reward, but what about the phone itself? Smartphones increasingly seek Wi-Fi, trying to connect to a multitude of networks without taking the actual experience of the end user into consideration. We want Wi-Fi – It is often free, fast and does the job. But with so many public Wi-Fi options, the risk of bad Wi-Fi connections is growing worldwide. A recent outing showed how on average a walk through a city for a few hours will cause a smartphone attempt to connect to a Wi-Fi network over 40 unique times.
Imagine being out with friends and attempting to show them your latest social media post. You pull out your phone only to find a login page. After multiple attempts to login, you immediately lose your friends’ attention, turn off Wi-Fi and rely on the cellular network. With mobile traffic estimated to reach zettabyte magnitudes by the end of 2022, Wi-Fi offload strategies are critical for service providers, including MNOs, MVNOs and MSOs, to address these enormous amounts of data demand.
There are various reasons why service providers should leverage Wi-Fi to complement their existing cellular networks:
- Some MNOs have reached the limits of their current infrastructure investments and are unable to build out additional cell towers to satisfy users’ insatiable demands for mobile data.
- Other operators are restricted by limited spectrum – almost all service providers need access to more spectrum than is available to meet consumer demand, however some smaller carriers are particularly squeezed and need to leverage WiFi to remain competitive.
- And there are the WiFi first providers for whom maximizing the use of Wi-Fi is crucial to not just their profitability, but also their very existence.
Considering globally there will be an astonishing 111.4 exabytes of mobile data traffic offloaded monthly to Wi-Fi by 2022, compared to just 13.4 exabytes in 2017 – a whopping 731% increase, service providers need to prepare now for what’s ahead. This depends on reliable Wi-Fi services to connect to, and on frustrated consumers not deactivating their Wi-Fi capabilities.
It’s time to break up with bad Wi-Fi so we can connect with our content on our terms. In the next post, we’ll share how service providers can deliver reliable Wi-Fi services and quell end-user frustrations.