Canadian wi-fi network provider BelAir is marketing its products to UK mobile operators as a simple fix for poor transmission in data hotspots such as London.
BelAir is already supplying the City of London and St Pancras Stations with Wi-Fi. At St Pancras, it has installed 30 access points (APs) to provide coverage for Eurostar and UK travellers. In addition, Islington Council in London, and Bristol City Council have used BelAir to supply free Wi-Fi to their citizens.
‘It’s all about customer retention,’ says Rayment. ‘In the US, Verizon has set up a fibre optic TV service – like Virgin in the UK – so traditional cable TV providers, such as Cablevision, feel threatened by this and don’t want to lose customers, so they’ve added mobile onto their offerings. But then they need to provide a reliable mobile data service.’
In the UK, Rayment says the driver is the need for the networks to provide a reliable user experience for voice, text and data, but the exponential increase in smartphone data use is overloading the networks. Rayment says that if BelAir aggregates all of its large networks, 75% of data use is coming from smartphones, as opposed to PCs.