Wireless Carriers Should Friend with Wi-Fi, Consultant Says

by Istvan Fekete on June 2, 2014

There seems to be a misconception in the wireless industry about Wi-Fi: while it isn’t necessarily a friend of carriers, it could be, as they are missing out on potential revenue if they skip Wi-Fi, says Denmark-based industry consultant Claus Hetting, speaking with the Wire Report.

It’s a fact that data is a great source of revenue and is growing fast, as the latest incumbent quarterly sales reports highlight. All of them have reported double-digit year-to-year growth in wireless data revenue. Now, Rogers seems to be making more money from data transmission than voice; at least this is what its first-quarter financial report shows.

Speaking with the Wire Report, Claus Hetting, chairman of the Wi-Fi Offload Summit that will take place in Palo Alto, California, between June 18 and 19, emphasized that between 70% and 80% of the data used by smartphones in the US and the UK is transferred through Wi-Fi connections. He did not have figures for Canada, but they are likely to be similar to those of the aforementioned countries.

“On a relative scale, mobile is losing out to Wi-Fi because the Wi-Fi traffic for smart devices is rising faster than mobile traffic, even though both are growing”, he said. “The question is: What can the mobile industry do about that?”.

From his perspective, making greater use of Wi-Fi technology, wireless providers could win back a good chunk of the data being transmitted outside of their networks.
There is one thing we should mention, though: there has been a notable increase in mobile network speeds, which reduces people’s need to search for Wi-Fi hotspots, Iain Grant, a SeaBoard Group telecom analyst points out.

Hetting, on the other hand, points toward the advantages of Wi-Fi: if installed at shopping malls and sport stadiums, it’s cheaper than installing mobile connections, and, by the way, Wi-Fi is designed for high-density areas, generating up to 40% savings on equipment compared to mobile network connections. Oh, and one more thing: Wi-Fi operates on bandwidths that are not subject to licensing by government, Hetting said.

Finally, it depends on the carrier: Bell, for example, provides Wi-Fi services, but Rogers does not use it on an integrated basis.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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