Managed Wi-Fi for Multi-Dwelling Units Ready for Prime Time

Real estate investment trusts are taking an increasing role in MDU’s transformation.

MIAMI, FL — Wi-Fi as a service (WaaS), or managed Wi-Fi services, is expected to reach $6 billion by 2028, according to the latest report “Multi-Dwelling Rental Units in the United States – Managed WiFi: from Amenity to Necessity” from Maravedis LLC, a leading wireless analyst firm based in Miami, Florida.

The in-depth report is based on an online survey of property owners and service providers, interviews with leading service providers active in the market, and market sizing projections for managed Wi-Fi or WaaS nationwide for 2023–2028.

While only 1 percent of MDU properties currently provide managed Wi-Fi and 15 percent enjoy bulk internet, managed Wi-Fi is expected to reach $6 billion by 2028. The market is driven by several factors, including a boom in large rental constructions and new generations of residents expecting quality Wi-Fi throughout the property at all times. Despite the cost and complexity of retrofitting brownfield properties, the market opportunity for managed Wi-Fi is tremendous.

“For ISPs and MSPs competing on price for broadband, WaaS is a golden opportunity to escape the race to the bottom and generate ancillary revenues over longer-term contracts,” says Adlane Fellah, chief analyst at Maravedis LLC and author of the report. He adds, “While managed Wi-Fi is not a new concept, it is finally ready for prime time, especially for properties with more than 100 units. The next generation of managed Wi-Fi should be a cornerstone of service providers and property owners’ success by delivering residents and staff a seamless and secure Wi-Fi experience.”

While MSOs and independent managed service providers (MSPs) have traditionally dominated this market, the industry is shifting toward greater participation from real estate investment trusts (REITs) with massive footprints and investments. As MSOs fight to keep market share in their territories, REITs are becoming a major force in managed Wi-Fi for rental communities, as evidenced by their investments into MSPs (Cloud 5, CBX Connect) and Optech companies like SmartRent.

“Managed Wi-Fi is really a differentiator for multifamily properties and a way for owners, managers, and developers to attract and retain residents. It’s not just an amenity. It’s become the most important utility. Expectations are starting to mirror the hospitality industry: You wouldn’t stay at a hotel that doesn’t have Wi-Fi. The same will hold true for apartments,” says Todd Thorpe, vice president of sales for DojoNetworks, a national provider of property-wide managed Wi-Fi.

“Providing managed Wi-Fi enhances the residential experience, making it convenient to residents who can easily connect to the property-wide network. It also allows for implementing smart buildings and smart apartments or IoT technologies, which enhance the overall resident experience. Managed Wi-Fi benefits property owners and managers, who can provide a value-added service to residents while generating ancillary revenue from the monthly service fees,” says Shayne Rose, national director, MDU at Cloud5 Communications.

“You’re starting to see a lot more REITs get involved in managed Wi-Fi for many reasons. It’s a way to ensure the service delivered matches their expectations for user experience; it helps to minimize risk on a new development or acquisition via tighter control over such an important utility; and they also understand firsthand the many ways that it can provide accretive value to the property,” says Jared Sanders, president, CBX Connect.

Managed Wi-Fi can increase residents’ overall satisfaction and retention rate resulting in greater net operating income (NOI) and property valuation. Property owners can also deploy facility IoT to improve their operational efficiency.

Maravedis LLC is a premier global provider of market intelligence and advisory services focusing on wireless infrastructure, MDU connectivity, and smart technologies.

 MDU Experts is a venture by Maravedis specializing in research, consulting, and tools for the multi-apartment technology markets.


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