Free Public WiFi Threatened?

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Nearly every company on the show floor at Mobile World Congress has projections of broadband growth, says Sue Marek of Fierce Wireless:

Operators are offloading their macro networks with small cells integrating 3G, 4G — and Wi-Fi. Does that mean free public WiFi will get pushed out by carrier-based subscription services? The short answer seems to be “yes”.

Ruckus Wireless is debuting a cellular infrastructure product at Mobile World Congress, with a carrier-class Wi-Fi access points that can accommodate 3G/4G radios.

Telecom giants are integrating Wi-Fi into their service offerings. Ericsson is buying Wi-Fi vendor BelAir Networks, while Alcatel-Lucent last week announced a system for users to roam easily between Wi-Fi hotspots and its cellular infrastructure. Alcatel-Lucent lightRadio WiFi device adds WiFi connectivity, as well as 2G, 3G and LTE. They can be mounted on bus stops, using LTE as the backhaul.

The Wireless Broadband Alliance, a collection of network operators, announced successful tests of what WBA calls the “Next Generation Hotspot,” based in part on Passpoint and other WFA specs.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Monday, February 27th, 2012 at 9:08 am .

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