Mobile and cablecos vye to use WiFi most effectively

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The more ubiquitous and carrier-class public WiFi becomes, the more the battle heats up between mobile operators and their non-cellular challengers, to see which can harness WiFi more effectively.

For the MNOs, intelligent balancing of traffic between the two technologies is important to cost of delivery and to quality of experience. Vodafone Germany is working with Cisco to pilot a system which should automate those decisions with intelligent network selection. It has tested the offering in three cities, using the Cisco Policy Suite and a client-side application to support seamless login, and always best connected choices, based on either carrier or consumer preferences.

On the other side of the competitive coin, cable operator Liberty Global is to deploy software from Devicescape – which crowdsources, aggregates and curates free WiFi hotspots to deliver a virtual network to service providers – across its European footprint. Liberty has been an aggressive deployer of WiFi-first services in some markets, such as The Netherlands, but has also been investing in cellular operations (buying Base in Belgium and combining its assets with Vodafone’s in Holland).

Of the Devicescape deal, Graeme Oxby, MD of European mobile operations at Liberty, said: “WiFi is essential to our mobile strategy, boosting coverage and capacity – particularly in-doors while driving economic efficiencies which we can pass on to our customers. By combining WiFi and cellular as we are able to with the Devicescape solution, we are also delivering a significant improvement to the customer experience.”

The pan-regional agreement builds on an existing implementation of the Devicescape solution by Virgin Media, Liberty Global’s UK operation, announced in February 2014.

Devicescape CEO Dave Fraser said in a statement: “This is the first top tier deployment of a service that truly integrates cellular with the huge resource of free, intentionally shared public WiFi. It illustrates how insatiable consumer demand is driving development of new service models which are changing the nature of connectivity service provision.”

 

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Caroline has been analyzing and reporting in the hi-tech industries since 1986 and has a huge wealth of experience of technology trends and how they impact on business models. She started her career as a journalist, specializing in enterprise and carrier networks and in silicon technologies. She spent much of her journalistic career at VNU Business Publishing, then Europe’s largest producer of technology publications and information services . She was publishing director for the launch of VNU’s pan-European online content services, and then European editorial director. She then made the move from publishing into technology market analysis and consulting, and in 2002 co-founded Rethink Technology Research with Peter White. Rethink specializes in trends and business models for wireless, converged and quad play operators round the world and the technologies that support them. Caroline’s role is to head up the wireless side of the business, leading the creation of research, newsletters and consulting services focused on mobile platforms and operator models. In this role, she has become a highly recognized authority on 4G systems such as LTE and WiMAX, and a prolific speaker at industry events. Consulting and research clients come from major mobile operators, the wireless supply chain and financial institutions.

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