& cplSiteName &

Boingo: Carrier WiFi Offload Still a Year Out

Sarah Thomas
3/11/2014
50%
50%

Despite doing a big wholesale business with the network operators, the head of the WiFi service provider Boingo isn't convinced most have a real WiFi offload strategy yet.

Rather, many wireless operators are stuck in phase one of WiFi offload, building distributed antenna systems (DAS), according to Boingo Wireless Inc. CEO David Hagan. He told analysts at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference this week that carrier offload strategies, or diverting cellular traffic to unlicensed spectrum to alleviate network congestion, are still a year or so from fruition.

Among the big four US wireless operators, Hagan said, Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) are the most active in DAS, but getting one of them in a network deployment almost guarantees you get the other. "They are hyper competitive about their competitor having a better user experience in major venues." Working with Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile US Inc. requires more effort, but Boingo averages three carriers per DAS network it deploys. (See Carrier WiFi's Not Winning in Sports Arenas.)

That's where most of the operators are today, even if they tend to devote more time to talking about their offload strategies. Phase two is actual offload to WiFi, which Hagan said is coming, though operators will give an obtuse answer as to when. "They don't have clear strategies. Depending on which department we talk to, they have different perspectives -- some are bullish, some are not. To me, that says it's going to be another year or so before it comes to fruition."

Given how slowly he expects pure and simple offload to take off, it's easy to see why he thinks Hotspot 2.0 will take even longer. Boingo has been an early mover there. It has tested the authentication technology in 21 airports across the US, but Hagan said that, even though the technology is ready, it's -- again -- a matter of getting the operators ready. Following a productive Mobile World Congress, he thinks a number of carriers will practice with a subset of their customers soon, but deployments could be a year to 18 months away. (See Boingo Expands Hotspot 2.0 to 21 Airports and Hotspot 2.0 Makes Slow & Steady Progress.)

"It'll take one rabbit, one first mover, then the whole market will move," he said. "We can do side bets on who we think the first mover will be. But, even from a carrier perspective, I don't think it's a question of if, but when."

Hagan said that Boingo has significant DAS agreements with all four of the big carriers. It has WiFi offload deals with three of the four -- including AT&T, which has been an aggressive early mover -- and a new deal with Verizon. He identified the biggest hurdles with all the operators as the need to map out their corporate strategies and figure out if they bundle WiFi access with data plans, make it incremental revenue, or offer free access. (See AT&T: Hotspot 2.0 Integral to Multimode Small Cells.)

"They need to work through the mechanics and marketing strategy with what they want to do with WiFi, but everything else is set," he said.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(21)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
Sarah Thomas
50%
50%
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
3/23/2014 | 11:12:41 AM
Re: Re : Boingo: Carrier WiFi Offload Still a Year Out
Using policy at the app level, operators can automatically move some types of content, like video, to WiFi. They can do the same thing with LTE-U -- decide when a form of content might need both WiFi and LTE or just one or the other. I think this is mainly for consumers who just use LTE all the time. They can decide to always default to WiFi, but if they don't, opreators can use policy to dictate when they do, at least that's how I understand it.
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/23/2014 | 4:08:07 AM
Re : Boingo: Carrier WiFi Offload Still a Year Out
@ Dan, yes hopefully, but you never know considering the strange ways and places in which people are seen using smart phones for all the purposes. Anyway you have a point here about videos. But I have a question. How can they move just videos to Wifi? I mean, will it not tempt users to use something that is free for all their purposes?
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/20/2014 | 3:05:22 PM
Re: Re : Boingo: Carrier WiFi Offload Still a Year Out
You've identified the big issue regarding mobile operators and wi-fi. Mobile operators have used wi-fi as a way to keep customers happy while high-bandwidth services are being built out. But once 4G etc. is in place, wi-fi becomes almost a liability from the point of view of maximizing data service revenues. This is especially true now that in the minds of most users, "free" and "wi-fi" are forever joined. So mobile carriers now need to figure out a way to build some wi-fi charges into their data service contracts. It won't be easy.
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/20/2014 | 2:52:32 PM
Re : Boingo: Carrier WiFi Offload Still a Year Out
It is quite perplexing why network carriers would provide for Wifi on their networks. They have their own data networks to offer to the customers. Would it not be like an axe to their own business? Everyone would like to use free Wifi instead of paying for data services to carriers.
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/13/2014 | 8:27:23 AM
Re: It's a thin line ...
Not sure I can hit all the "missing somethings," but this is a much more complex issue than cutting a handoff deal with a wi-fi provider. For one thing, there can be hundreds of wi-fi providers, and some (or many) of them are not that interested in bringing mobile operators into their activities. The bigger issue is that the wi-fi genie is out of the bottle. No one entity is going to control it. And free wi-fi has been around long enough that charging for service is going to be difficult.
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/12/2014 | 11:56:57 PM
Re: It's a thin line ...
Yes, but the mobile operator can cut a handoff deal with the WiFi provider and get a piece of the action. Or am I missing something?
ClausHetting
50%
50%
ClausHetting,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/12/2014 | 10:34:23 PM
Great discussion here
What an excellent discussion. I'm thrilled that 'offload' is getting some attention. OK - so even though I'm a champion of the word itself, I do agree that it's not a good one (agree with Gabriel). All the many (some of them seriously disruptive) opportunities deserve a better term. I intend to be launching such a term soon, btw :-)

Wi-Fi is actually a very complex landscape. But I also believe that Wi-Fi with carrier involvement will take on several forms in the coming years. One form will be Hotspot 2.0, but it don't think it's will the only one. The belief that Wi-Fi needs one specific interoperability standard in order to be a mass market success is a traditional mobile-centric (or carrier-centric) point of view because carriers love standards. Part of the beauty of Wi-Fi as a technology is that it's wide open as a technology.

In my view to essential pieces of technology are needed: Something to aggregate, and something for seamlessness. This can be done in various ways - and it already is. I'd also like to point out that the opportunities in Wi-Fi are not a 'zero sum game'. We're dealing with massive demand for wireless services that can - and will - be fulfilled by various companies and with many technical methods some of which will be proprietary. 

My current view is succesful 'carrier Wi-Fi' needs to be addressed through a combination of monetization strategies of which offload is just one. LBS, location analytics, content, ads, social media, etc. etc. are all a part of this picture. 

If you want to know more, mark your calendars for June 18th and 19th in Palo Alto: The WilFi Offload Summit. We'll be discussing all of this and more. Join us :-)
Gabriel Brown
50%
50%
Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/11/2014 | 6:58:51 PM
Re: Carrier WiFi
I agree with you, I think. In general, residential WiFi is preferable (cheaper and faster) than 3G or 4G. And, pretty clearly, that's what people use.

Whatsapp Messaging is trivial from a data consumption perspective. Whatsapp Voice might be a bit more noticeable.
macster
50%
50%
macster,
User Rank: Light Bulb
3/11/2014 | 5:45:11 PM
Re: Carrier WiFi
Re. chart, it's no different to Vodafone's Best Connected. As I mentioned in another thread, there is "conflict of interest", as I just can't see how one's favourite or home WiFi being at the top of the stack is beneficial to the operator.

Two points will always prove true with consumers. (1) Cost. (2) Perception of better bandwidth. Consumers will tend to use home WiFi as it's free and the perception (and reality!!! at least in my case) is that the home Internet connection is usually better. They will also be wary of data caps.

On top of that, there's the issue of OTT, where the likes of Whatsapp and Skype eat into voice and text revenue. I don't know what Whatsapp's voice feature will be like, but I am sure (well, my assumption) that unlike Skype or FB, it will make use of the 'address book', i.e. you will be calling the actual number, as opposed to a 'connection' (like Skype).

Sure! More data means more money for operators! But...... this is not the case if all that extra data is on free WiFi.

If operators are not careful, in the near (and foreseeable!) future, they will find themselves being nothing more than an ISP.

 
Gabriel Brown
50%
50%
Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/11/2014 | 5:13:10 PM
Re: Carrier WiFi
Yes, a lot (most?) of public WiFi is not secure. Passpoint with 802.1X is specifically intended to address this.

The reason I don't like offload as a term is because I think Carrier WiFi should be about providing a better connection than 3G/4G as circumstances dictate or allow. When 3G/4G is better, then use that. There's a good chart from Orange that explains this:



 
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
NEXT COURSE
Wednesday, August 3, 1:00PM EDT
The Central Office Re-Architected as a Data Center
Guru Parulkar, Executive Director, Open Networking Research Center, Open Networking Lab
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Wednesday, August 10, 1:00PM EDT
Telcos & Open Source 101
Phil Robb, Senior Technical Director, OpenDaylight
Friday, August 12, 1:00PM EDT
The Role of Open Source in NFV
Jim Fagan, Director, Cloud Practice, Telstra
Wednesday, August 17, 1:00PM EDT
Using Open Source for Data Centers and Cloud Services
Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Reinventing Operations for a Virtual, Software-Defined World

7|28|16   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Jim Hodges speaks with Accenture's Larry Socher and Matt Anderson about what service providers must do to transform their business to get the benefits of SDN and NFV including: leveraging DevOps, introducing real-time OSS and implementing analytics.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu Sales Leader Shares Lessons Learned

7|27|16   |   5:12   |   (1) comment


As Fujitsu's only female sales leader, Annie Bogue knows the importance of asking for what you want, being flexible (she's been relocated five times), keeping a meticulous calendar, 'leaning in,' working harder than everyone else around you, being aware and more.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
VeEX Test & Measurement Solutions

7|25|16   |   08:57   |   (0) comments


Cyrille Morelle, president and CEO of VeEX Inc., talks test and measurement with Light Reading's Steve Saunders at BCE 2016. This includes innovative products such as VeSion Cloud-Based platform for network monitoring; MTTplus Modular Test platform for Access, Business, Carrier Ethernet, Transport and Core services; and OPX-BOX+ for Fiber Optics.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live From BCE 2016

7|25|16   |   03:20   |   (0) comments


VeEX's Senior Director of Business Development, Perry Romano, explains how VeEX provides tools to help install, maintain, monitor and manage network infrastructure efficiently and effectively. The portfolio of products on display include the RXT-6000, MTTplus and TX300s.
LRTV Custom TV
Real-Time Telemetry & Analytics for Intelligent SDN Orchestration

7|25|16   |   03:09   |   (0) comments


Packet Design CEO Scott Sherwood discusses how real-time network telemetry and analytics are enabling a new breed of SDN orchestration applications.
From the Founder
The Russo Report: Driving Disruption

7|25|16   |   07:44   |   (0) comments


In the first episode of a four-part series, Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders and Calix President and CEO Carl Russo drive around town discussing the disruptive mega-changes in the communications industry and where hope lies for service providers to meet the escalating demands of the cloud.
LRTV Custom TV
NetScout: Maximizing Enterprise Cloud for Digital Transformation

7|20|16   |   04:53   |   (0) comments


Light Reading Editor Mitch Wagner talks to NetScout CMO Jim McNiel about maximizing the benefits of enterprise cloud and digital transformation while minimizing potential pitfalls with a proper monitoring and instrumentation strategy.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Ciena's VP Offers a Career Crash Course

7|20|16   |   4:14   |   (2) comments


How did Ciena's Vice President of Sales, Angela Finn, carve out her career path? Simple, she tells WiC. She stayed true to her company, customers and principles. She shares her advice for women on how to be authentic and credible, as well as for companies that want to make a real change to their culture and practices.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV in 2016: Part 2 – Climbing the Virtualization Maturity Curve

7|19|16   |   06:56   |   (0) comments


Many of the initial use case implementations are single-vendor and self-contained. The industry is still climbing the virtualization maturity curve, needing further clarity and stability in the NFV infrastructure (NFVi) and greater availability and choice of virtualized network functions (VNFs). Interoperability between NFVis and VNFs from different vendors ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa Networks' Kumar Mehta on SD-WAN Managed Services

7|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


In Silicon Valley, Steve Saunders sits down with Versa's Kumar Mehta for an interview focused on why service providers are building SD-WAN managed services, and how Versa's telco customers are innovating.
LRTV Custom TV
Juniper Networks & The Evolution of NFV

7|19|16   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Senior Juniper Networks executives talk to Light Reading Founder & CEO Steve Saunders about NFV developments and the recent independent evaluation by test lab EANTC of Juniper's Cloud CPE solution.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink Goes Beyond Managed WiFi

7|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


CenturyLink's managed WiFi allows enterprises, such as retailers and resorts, to track guest WiFi usage in order to help them better communicate with customers.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 6-8, 2016,
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Five of the Top 10 most targeted countries in Check Point Software Technologies' global Malware & Threat Index for Q1 2016 are in Africa.
Hot Topics
Verizon Sports Big Plans for Yahoo
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 7/26/2016
Light Reading Beyond
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 7/28/2016
Are IP/Optical Integration Initiatives Moving to Silos?
Faisal Khan, Network Operator Technology Planning Dept., 7/28/2016
Yahoo Signing Off in $4.83B Sale to Verizon
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 7/25/2016
Ericsson Board Has Been Asleep at the Wheel – Consultant
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 7/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
There's no question that, come 2020, 5G technology will turn the world's conception of what mobile networking is on its head. Within the world of 5G development, Dr. ...
I've enjoyed interviewing many interesting people since I rejoined Light Reading, but William A. "Bill" Owens certainly takes the biscuit, as we say where I come from.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.