Monday, May 16, 2011

Wi-Fi Offloading - Booming in India but Failing For AT&T?

2 recent articles show a very different carrier view of Wi-Fi offloading:

Gagandeep Kaur (picture) reports to Lightreading that "In line with the global trend, Indian operators are planning to use public Wi-Fi access points to offload mobile data traffic .. Aircel Ltd. recently launched 50,000 Wi-Fi hotspots around India ..Bharti Airtel Ltd.  has also hooked up with O-Zone, which is in discussions with Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular Ltd. In addition, Reliance Communications Ltd. is also believed to be in discussions with Wi-Fi service providers"

Sanjeev Sarin, founder and CEO of O-Zone Networks said: "Globally, Wi-Fi has recorded unprecedented growth in the past two-and-a-half years. We believe India is going to experience similar growth in the coming years".

See "Wi-Fi Offload Set to Boom in India" - here.

A recent In-Stat report supports the above trend (see "In-Stat: Wi-Fi Hotspot Growth Continues to be Strong" - here). See also "Juniper Research: By 2015 63% of Mobile Traffic will be Offloaded to a Fixed Connection" - here and "How Much of Smartphone Traffic could be Offloaded to Wi-Fi?" - here.

Nevertheless, Stacey Higginbotham (picture) reports to GigaOm that an AT&T "executive noted that AT&T didn’t see Wi-Fi helping the nation’s No. 2 carrier offset congestion [see "AT&T: Times Square needs a Wifi Boost to cope with 3G Traffic" - here] because in most cases people don’t use Wi-Fi unless they are sitting still in a hot-spot. And apparently, there are plenty of people still wandering around watching YouTube videos"

The article notes that "It is possible to create a Wi-Fi network that allows a user to remain on the Wi-Fi network, even when moving. Other good work on this comes from chip firms where engineers are discussing standards to enable seamless hopping from hot spot to hot spot or perhaps even a handoff between a cellular and Wi-Fi network"

See "Why Isn’t Wi-Fi Better?" - here. See also "AT&T: We Need T-Mobile for the "wireless broadband revolution" - here.

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