China Mobile’s multi-billion dollar investment in the roll-out of its own hotspot network underscored the fundamental importance of Wi-Fi to the end user’s entire data experience.
But the firm’s recent decision to abandon that investment—which given sunk costs must have been a painful one—shows that the business case for deployment of carrier-owned Wi-Fi is, at best, seriously challenged.
The world’s largest operator, and one of its wealthiest, hit a problem most of us have encountered. It needed something that, in the end, it couldn’t justify financially; the firm reportedly cited low ARPU as the principal reason behind the termination of its Wi-Fi deployment.
So, how can carriers’ unquestionable need to provide high quality, far-reaching Wi-Fi access as a supplement to their cellular networks be reconciled with:
• The cost and logistical difficulties inherent in doing so; and
• The challenges in making it pay?
There is no need for carriers to deploy a ubiquitous hotspot network—even if it were readily achievable—because one already exists. Amenity Wi-Fi, made available by business and premises owners ranging all the way from the smallest coffee shops up to the largest sports arenas, is the densest wireless access resource on the planet.
There are hundreds of millions of amenity hotspots worldwide, with business and premises owners increasingly using Wi-Fi as a means of attracting and retaining customers—and customers responding in line with those aims.
Now, on the face of it this resource isn’t just fragmented, it’s atomised. But what if it could be collated into a single, coherent, secure and quality controlled network for carriers to exploit according to sophisticated policy controls?
What if operators could move their customers seamlessly between the best the cellular connection has to offer and the best the Wi-Fi connection has to offer, creating a user experience of unrivalled quality and reliability—and improve network resource management into the bargain?
Most importantly, what if this network was available to operators at a fraction of the cost associated with operator-initiated hotspot deployment, drastically reducing the revenue required for ROI?
The answer to all these “what-ifs” is a win across the board for carriers and their customers, and this is precisely what Devicescape can provide.
Devicescape’s curated virtual network (CVN) is the largest virtualised carrier Wi-Fi network in the world. This is a vast curated network comprised of more than 20 million high-quality hotspots that are constantly evaluated, qualified, and monitored.
The network continues to expand with Devicescape actively monitoring more than 300 million amenity Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide. Amenity Wi-Fi is the biggest network in the world and is growing larger by the minute; and when combined with optimal Wi-Fi usage at home, there is no reason why an operator can’t meet the coverage and capacity demand of the growing smartphone-user population.
See also: Curating the Wi-Fi experience