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Wireless broadband use is set to soar over the next four years, a new report has predicted.

According to research conducted by In-Stat, there will be 120 million Wi-Fi hotspots in use by the end of 2015.

The firm said the wireless broadband hotspot market continues to surge forward with "phenomenal growth" in footprint and usage.

In-Stat said that over the past few years, growth in the hotspot market has largely been driven by wireless and broadband providers embracing Wi-Fi as both a competitive differentiator, and an enhancement to core services.

The analyst forecast this trend will continue in the mid-term, with an increasing number of business and consumers embracing Wi-Fi technology.

In-Stat claimed that hotspots will continue to be a key factor in mobile operators' data offload strategy, with the number of hotspot venues increasing to more than a million in 2013.

Amy Cravens, Senior Analyst at In-Stat, commented that the hotspot market is in "a continuous state of flux".

"Now over a decade old, the market is still undergoing significant changes in usage and business models," she stated.

Mr Cravens noted that Wi-Fi hotspots have become a service used to attract customers to other product offerings, rather than a standalone offering.

"Whether the product is broadband, mobile service, or a cup of coffee, Wi-Fi is being layered on top of core offerings as a competitive differentiator," he added.

Last week, broadband provider Plusnet Business claimed that wireless broadband services can help businesses draw customers through their doors.

The firm reported that up to half of UK consumers are more likely to choose hospitality providers which offer free Wi-Fi services.

Nick Silverwood, Head of Business at Plusnet, said: "Installing something as simple as free Wi-Fi for customers can help generate repeat custom and definition within a market.

"With increased competition in the hospitality and retail markets, it's important for small businesses to understand how investing in customer broadband has the potential to really boost sales."

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