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.)
mhhf1ve, User Rank: Light Sabre 8/6/2014 | 3:29:37 PM
Re: Has any large scale WiFi deployment ever worked out?
How about Gogo Wireless or Boingo? Large-scale hotspots is their business.
I guess I need to define "large scale" -- because, to my knowledge, Boingo and Gogo are targeting specific niche markets in airplanes and airports and specific retail locations. So that's a very different model from wireless "everywhere" that would or could be competitive with LTE wireless coverage.
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.
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..
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.
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, 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.
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, 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.
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.
During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.
She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.