A Pyramid Research report ambitiously projects that Wi-Fi users will outnumber cellular data users by 2007: Considering the number of Wi-Fi users today and the number of cellular voice users, who have the potential to start using cellular data, I find that projection unlikely. But the point of the report is that wireless operators should bundle the two types of services to take advantage of the interest in Wi-Fi.
That combination of services is exactly what will drive Wi-Fi, concludes another analyst, this time from IDC. She expects prices to decline when the services are combined which will attract more users. In Europe in particular, analysts have been critical of high Wi-Fi prices.
The lack of extensive and easy roaming combined with high prices are the main barriers to more Wi-Fi growth at the moment. As the market matures, hopefully both of those factors will fall into place.
The head of BT Group's Wi-Fi business would disagree, however. He claims that decreasing prices won't help the market because price is only important to consumers not the business user and business travelers make up the biggest customer base for Wi-Fi. He doesn't think that lower prices in the U.S. have attracted more customers.