The Beacon

Economic value of Wi-Fi® exceeds expectations

March 29, 2021 by Alex Roytblat

It is well known that the Wi-Fi® ecosystem delivers enormous benefits to consumers, businesses, and economies around the world. Wi-Fi connects millions of people and billions of devices to the Internet. But is it possible to quantify this benefit?

A study commissioned by Wi-Fi Alliance® provides an up-to-date assessment of Wi-Fi's value. This comprehensive study estimates that the global economic value of Wi-Fi will reach $3.3 trillion in 2021, and projects it will reach $4.9 trillion by 2025. These forecasts suggest an increase of nearly $3 trillion in value from 2018 to 2025 – a 150 percent growth – underscoring Wi-Fi as a very significant global economic engine.

The study also projects that the value of Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E technology will increase from $58 billion this year to $527.5 billion in 2025. This estimate supports ongoing efforts in many countries to open the 6 GHz spectrum for Wi-Fi access. Recognizing the importance of Wi-Fi 6E for connectivity, technological competitiveness, and economic value, administrations around the world are moving forward on opening the 6 GHz frequency band for Wi-Fi use.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the demand for Wi-Fi connectivity due to the broad use of teleworking, remote learning, home schooling, entertainment, and online commerce. A recent study indicates that the demand for Wi-Fi connectivity has increased at an unprecedented rate, particularly for Wi-Fi data consumption, and the number of actively used devices. The European Commission also cited Wi-Fi as vital to supporting the European Union’s recovery from COVID-19 in its recently published State of the Union. A complementary report underscores the important role Wi-Fi plays in mitigating the effects of the pandemic.

Policymakers worldwide recognize the critical role of Wi-Fi technology in sustaining connectivity during the pandemic. Wi-Fi Alliance advocacy has been a key contributor to this transformative policy shift, and Wi-Fi Alliance will continue to work with regulators to expand and harmonize Wi-Fi access worldwide. These efforts will help secure both the social and economic benefits Wi-Fi provides, enable innovations, and help the industry deliver much needed telecommunication and information services.

The statements and opinions by each Wi-Fi Alliance member and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions or views of Wi-Fi Alliance or any other member. Wi-Fi Alliance is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information provided by any member in posting to or commenting on this blog. Concerns should be directed to info@wi-fi.org.

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Alex Roytblat

Wi-Fi Alliance

Vice President, Worldwide Regulatory Affairs

Alex Roytblat is Vice President of Worldwide Regulatory Affairs, where he is responsible for the organization’s overall regulatory strategy. In his role, Alex works with the Wi-Fi Alliance members and the executive team on the development of regulatory objectives and directs advocacy for the implementation of these objectives with governments, regulators and international organizations.

With over 20 years of experience in the field of international telecom regulations, Alex is an internationally recognized industry advocate. Prior to joining Wi-Fi Alliance, Alex served at the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), where he was involved in all phases of domestic and international radio spectrum management processes. Previously, Alex held technical roles for Stanford Telecommunications and Booz Allen & Hamilton. He holds a Master of Science in Communications Networks from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (Eta Kappa Nu) from George Mason University.