Light Reading

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

(13)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
mhhf1ve
50%
50%
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
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.
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
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..
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
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. 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
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.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading's founder and CEO, about Arista's CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Video Exclusive With Basil Alwan, Alcatel-Lucent

7|24|15   |   26:44   |   (4) comments


Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
VDF: Enable the Financial With Mobile Money

7|20|15   |   06:53   |   (0) comments


Ian Ravenscroft discusses how operators can expand to occupy the entire digital services value chain through service innovation.
LRTV Custom TV
Telefónica on OSS Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Jose Gonzales discusses the details of Telefónica's operation transformation program.
LRTV Custom TV
Judi Achmadi on Huawei's Cloud Storage Solution

7|20|15   |   03:33   |   (0) comments


Judi discusses the key business goals of TelekomSigma's public cloud service and how Huawei's solution helps them address challenges.
LRTV Custom TV
KPN Enlightening Digital Business & IT Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:19   |   (0) comments


Rob de Beer discusses the changes that operators need to make with service innovation now coming from the Internet world.
LRTV Custom TV
Stratus Telco-Grade Cloud Solutions & NFV

7|20|15   |   07:34   |   (0) comments


Ali Kafel from Stratus Technologies addresses high-availability concerns within the telco industry with a solution that enables telcos to provide high-availability and stateful fault-tolerance using a software-based approach.
LRTV Documentaries
The Six Million Dollar Business Man

7|20|15   |   01:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Saunders, publisher. A man barely alive after an acquisition malfunction imploded the company he founded. Gentlemen, we can rebuild Light Reading. Better, faster, stronger.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Anukool Lakhina, Guavus

7|20|15   |   38:51   |   (1) comment


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
LRTV Custom TV
IBM's Flash Storage With Intel QuickAssist

7|20|15   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Intel's Bev Crair and IBM's Eric Herzog discuss how IBM's V9000 Flash Storage System has helped customers around the world. Featuring real-time compression powered by Intel QuickAssist Technology, the V9000 is a next-gen flash storage solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Thailand's AIS: Transforming to an FMC Operator

7|17|15   |   4:53   |   (0) comments


Saran Phaloprakarn, Senior VP of Fixed Broadband Business Management of Thailand's AIS, was a keynote speaker at the first Asia-Pacific Ultra Broadband Summit in Bangkok. In this video, he talks to Heavy Reading about transforming into an FMC (FBB+MBB+Content) operator.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Cambodia's TRC Discusses Its Plans for National Broadband

7|17|15   |   10:33   |   (0) comments


In this video, Chakyra Moa, Chairman of Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia (TRC), talks in in-depth with Heavy Reading about the Cambodia's current telecom market and TRC's goals and expectations for the future.
LRTV Documentaries
5G Phone

7|16|15   |   2:09   |   (4) comments


A man has an opportunity to purchase the world's first working 5G phone. Imagine the possibilities...
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network operators start seeing savings from NFV in the first year, according to a study by Affirmed Networks and ACG.
Hot Topics
AT&T U-verse TV Hits the Skids
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 7/24/2015
Robbins Succeeds Chambers as Cisco Changes CEOs
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/27/2015
Qualcomm Wants FCC to Stay Out of LTE-U Fray
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 7/27/2015
RJio to Launch Its Own 4G Devices Brand
Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor, 7/27/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
Cats with Phones
Distract-a-Cat Click Here
The vibrate function makes for a useful cat distraction.