There will be 1.2 billion Wi-Fi hotspot connections worldwide by the end of 2009, up 47 percent from a year ago, according to research firm In-Stat.
The count comes as Google and Yahoo are pushing free Wi-Fi connections as holiday gifts and promotional vehicles. Meanwhile, telecom carriers are also hot on hotspots.
In-Stat notes that mobile operators are pushing hotspots to offload the stress on their taxed 3G networks.
Among the key figures:
- Worldwide hotspot venues will reach 245,000 locations in 2009;
- AT&T will have usage growth of 500 percent in 2009 compared to 2008;
- Wi-Fi deployments are ramping in China.