XCellAir survey claims operators could generate billions in revenue, save further billions in opex by ensuring reliable WiFi experience.

Providing managed WiFi services to consumer customers represents a $6.7 billion opportunity for telcos, based on the findings of a survey published by XCellAir on Tuesday.

According to XCellAir, that figure is derived from a $3.3 billion revenue opportunity by 2018, and potential opex savings of $3.4 billion by the same year.

"ISPs have a golden chance to capture Wi-Fi management as a service for their customers from which they stand to benefit financially, as well as in goodwill towards their brand," said XCellAir CEO Todd Mersch.

It is worth noting of course that XCellAir pitches itself as a WiFi quality-of-experience (QoE) specialist. It too stands to benefit from a growing appetite for managed WiFi services.

Back to the survey, which quizzed 1,000 U.K. and U.S. consumers in December last year, and 15% of respondents said they are willing to pay their ISP or a third party to manage their WiFi service; i.e., to optimise performance and minimise downtime. These consumers would be willing to pay on average $34 per year for such a service.

As it stands though, 89% of those surveyed said they had completely unmanaged WiFi, despite the fact that 80% said they had experienced some problems with their WiFi, and 31% said they suffered occasional or frequent WiFi problems.

As well as generating revenue and goodwill, operators would save on costs, because managing WiFi services leads to fewer calls to customer service, and fewer truck rolls to the customer’s premises to fix their issues.

"With WiFi fast becoming the consumer’s preferred choice for connectivity, Internet service providers need to ensure they are doing their utmost to meet service requirements. Our research reveals that there is nascent demand for managed WiFi services, demand that theyre also willing to pay for," said Mersch.