Light Reading
Economics didn't stack up for mobile giant, but China Telecom is forging ahead with its 802.11 expansion.

China Mobile Abandons WiFi Rollout

Ray Le Maistre
7/11/2014
50%
50%

Having built out a network of 4.3 million hotspots at a cost of 17 billion Yuan Renminbi (US$2.75 billion), China Mobile has put a halt to its WiFi deployments because the economics don't stack up.

Instead, China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL) is directing all its resources towards its 4G TDD LTE network rollout, and is on course to have rolled out more than 500,000 basestations in 300 cities by the end of 2014. (See China Issues 4G TDD Licences.)

Meanwhile, China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: CHA), which has only just been handed its FDD LTE license, is forging ahead with its WiFi access point deployments. (See China Issues More 4G Licenses.)

For the full story, see this blog by Light Reading's Hong Kong-based contributing editor, Robert Clark.

Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

(12)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
nasimson
50%
50%
nasimson,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/12/2014 | 9:55:33 AM
Re: $3 Billion Down The Drain?
Its not $3 Billion Down The Drain. Surely not. China has dense urban areas that are thousands in number. Before 4G, WiFi was the only option to complement mobile services with higher than 3g broadband Internet.
FakeMitchWagner
50%
50%
FakeMitchWagner,
User Rank: Lightning
7/11/2014 | 7:44:15 PM
Re: Has any large scale WiFi deployment ever worked out?
mhhf1ve - Oh, darn. Here I thought I caught you out at something. :)

How about Gogo Wireless or Boingo? Large-scale hotspots is their business. 
mhhf1ve
50%
50%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/11/2014 | 6:33:50 PM
Re: Has any large scale WiFi deployment ever worked out?
FMW, I wasn't trying to hide anything... offering free hotspots is a great promotional strategy for Google and others, but I'm legitimately trying to find out if there's ever been a pure large-scale WiFi network buildout that supported itself as a business. I know a bunch have tried and failed.. and I know there are some small scale WiFi hotspots that target very specific users and use cases that seem to do okay. But... large scale WiFi? hmmm..
FakeMitchWagner
50%
50%
FakeMitchWagner,
User Rank: Lightning
7/11/2014 | 5:22:21 PM
Re: Has any large scale WiFi deployment ever worked out?
mhhf1ve - I saw you palm that card. A loss leader is not necessarily a failure. It can lead to greater profits for a company. It's a perfectly legitimate business strategy -- if it were not, restaurants would not offer free bread. 
FakeMitchWagner
50%
50%
FakeMitchWagner,
User Rank: Lightning
7/11/2014 | 5:20:53 PM
Is WiFi a short-term solution?
Will technology such as small cells and the emerging 60 MHz network make WiFi obsolete?
mhhf1ve
50%
50%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/11/2014 | 4:29:15 PM
Has any large scale WiFi deployment ever worked out?
The history of large Wifi hotspot networks is filled with failures and overbuilding that didn't make economic sense in the end. It makes me wonder what telcos are thinking when they come up with these plans to build out large WiFi networks. I'm not sure I can think of any large scale WiFi network that became economically sustainable. Users generally think of WiFi as a free add-on, and few are willing to pay for spotty service.

Can anyone give an example of a large Wifi network that is not a loss leader?
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/11/2014 | 12:45:47 PM
Re: $3 Billion Down The Drain?
The point is that mobile operators were using WiFi for offload, i.e., to handle traffic that their conventional networks couldn't handle. As Mr. Clark points out in his blog, there is little direct revenue to be gained from that for mobile operators. So once stronger networks are in place, WiFi offload becomes a revenue drain. The end game is to have robust mobile broadband networks that do not require WiFi. For other operators and businesses, WiFi is a very different value proposition. And  obviously it's great for end users.
CraigPlunkett
100%
0%
CraigPlunkett,
User Rank: Moderator
7/11/2014 | 12:26:24 PM
Re: $3 Billion Down The Drain?
I think the money quote from the blog is that they built Wi-Fi where users were less dense, which is a backwards approach.  Wi-Fi is a small cell technology, suitable for nomadic urban use in dense areas.  You have to build it where the customer density is.
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/11/2014 | 11:56:44 AM
Re: $3 Billion Down The Drain?
Well, it's not $3 billion flushed down the hole -- there's still value to extract from that. The point is that WiFi offload becomes less relevant as better-performing networks are put in place.
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/11/2014 | 11:23:30 AM
Re: $3 Billion Down The Drain?
So we've arrived at the reality of "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money," misattributed to Everett Dirksen. 

 

Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Flash Poll
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Keynote: The Software-Defined Operator

7|24|14   |   18:43   |   (1) comment


Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg explains the concept of the software-defined operator to the Big Telecom Event (BTE) crowd.
Light Reedy
Numbers Are In: LR's 2014 Salary Survey

7|24|14   |   1:25   |   (3) comments


Our fourth annual Salary Survey paints a picture of who's hiring, firing, earning, and yearning for a change in the telecom industry.
LRTV Custom TV
Driving the Network Transformation

7|23|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


Intel's Sandra Rivera discusses network transformation and how Intel technologies, programs, and standards body efforts have helped the industry migration to SDN and NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed NFV-Based Business Services by RAD

7|18|14   |   5:38   |   (0) comments


With the ETSI-approved Distributed NFV PoC running in the background, RAD's CEO, Dror Bin, talks about why D-NFV makes compelling sense for service providers, and about the dollars and cents RAD is putting behind D-NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
MRV Accelerating Packet Optical Convergence

7|15|14   |   6:06   |   (0) comments


Giving you network insight to make your network smarter.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV-Enabled Ethernet for Generating New Revenues

7|15|14   |   5:49   |   (0) comments


Cyan's Planet Orchestrate allows service providers and their end-customers to activate software-based capabilities such as firewalls and encryption on top of existing Ethernet services in just minutes.
LRTV Custom TV
Symkloud NVF-Ready Video Transcoding, Big Data

7|9|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


Kontron and ISV partner Vantrix demonstrate high-performance video transcoding and data analytic solutions on same 2U standard platform that is ready for SDN and NFV deployments made by mobile, cable and cloud operators.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Evolving Role of Hybrid Video for Competitive Success

7|4|14   |   4:09   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's Global Analysts Summit in Shenzhen, China, Steven C. Hawley from TV Strategies speaks to us about the evolving role of hybrid video for competitive success.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How CSPs Leverage Big Data in the Digital Economy

7|4|14   |   4:48   |   (2) comments


Justin van der Lande from Analysys Mason shares with us his views on how telecom operators can leverage customer asset monetization with big data. His discusses the current status of big data applications and the challenges and opportunities for telecom operators in the digital economy era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerator for Digital Business Future Oriented BSS

7|4|14   |   3:08   |   (0) comments


Mobile and internet are becoming intertwined; IT and CT are integrating; and leading CSPs have begun to transform to information service and entertainment providers. How should the BSS system evolve to enable this transformation? Karl Whitelock, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, shares his views.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Orange Tunisia Discusses Multi-Band Antenna With EasyRET Solution

7|4|14   |   2:45   |   (0) comments


As new site acquisition becomes more difficult, Orange Tunisia has requested multi-band antenna to support UMTS and LTE innovation. Some things considered include reducing the cost of antenna maintenance and having high reliability antenna and EasyRET solution.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Allot's latest MobileTrends Charging Report shows that value-based pricing plans are up from 35% in 2011 to 85% in 2014.
Today's Cartoon
Vacation Special Caption Competition Click Here
Latest Comment
Hot Topics
The Municipal Menace?
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 7/22/2014
Cisco Puts a Fog Over IoT
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/23/2014
GM: 10 Car Models on Road With AT&T's LTE
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 7/18/2014
Apple Earnings: Strong iPhone Sales, iPad Sales Slump, $7.8B Profit
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/22/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed