Looking ahead, mobile operators like China Mobile and China United Telecommunications Corp. (China Unicom) are likely to roll out more hotspots as handsets that offer Wi-Fi access become available, Crowley said.
For now, the future of hotspots in China remains unclear. While deployments have slowed down in recent month, the market for these services could grow as the number of hotspots increases and operators refine and improve their service offerings.
"I don't really think (hotspots have) been a disappointment, but I was kind of conservative," Crowley said, adding he doesn't expect to see hotspots take off in China until operators can work out roaming agreements that will allow users to access the Internet from different hotspots -- something that has yet to happen.
"It's a market that still could have a lot of potential, we'll just have to wait and see," he said.