Light Reading
Here are the important players to keep an eye on as WiFi becomes more than just the sideshow in operators' networks.

Top 10 Carrier WiFi Movers & Shakers

Sarah Reedy
12/20/2013
100%
0%

Once a thorn in their network strategies, WiFi is now most wireless operators' saving grace. It's become an integral part of carrier networks, and the availability, quality, and handoff experience continues to improve.

It's an interesting time for WiFi in the wireless industry. For the most part, WiFi had to compete for attention with LTE network deployments in 2013, says Heavy Reading analyst Gabriel Brown. All the backhaul improvements, core upgrades, and R&D went to the 4G network. But that could start to change in 2014. Already, most mobile usage is happening over WiFi rather than cellular, and next year, many operators will turn their attention to building out their LTE networks with small cells and WiFi.

Brown says to expect a lot of interesting developments to continue in 2014, including Hotspot 2.0 progress, a growing interest in venue services, carrier bonding with LTE and WiFi, and R&D on multipath TCP.

For our list of Carrier WiFi movers and shakers, we took a broad look at the industry and identified those companies being aggressive in adding WiFi access points (AP), innovating on how they monetize them, and working ahead on those developments that will define 2014.

We've focused here on the mobile industry, but that's not to ignore the work that's going on in the cable industry, where WiFi is becoming a huge priority. As such we've also included a page devoted to cable's movers and shakers, but we plan to look at them more closely in future coverage. (See Small Cells: The Battle for the Lamp Post, Cable WiFi Hotspots Could Hit 1M in Year, and Can Cable WiFi Scale?.)

So here's our resulting list of 10 people to keep an eye on, presented in no particular order. As with our Small Cells Movers & Shakers list -- WiFi's kissing cousin -- some of the names may be familiar, coming from big operators, while others represent new startups on the scene, each with innovative ideas about how to make WiFi work.

As always, please let us know what you think in the comments section below. Does your time siphoning free WiFi from coffee shops give you a different opinion? Anyone you'd add or take away? Feel free to weigh in on the message boards.

Contents:

Related posts

  • Next Page: Selina Lo, CEO, Ruckus Wireless

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

    (7)  | 
    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    Page 1 / 13 Next >
  • Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    SarahReedy
    50%
    50%
    SarahReedy,
    User Rank: Blogger
    1/3/2014 | 2:54:52 PM
    Re: Another candidate!
    Thanks, Claus. Torbjörn is another good one to watch. I've spoken to Aptilo awhile back, but haven't heard what they are doing lately. I'll be curious to see how they're shaping handoff. 
    ClausHetting
    50%
    50%
    ClausHetting,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    1/3/2014 | 2:52:55 PM
    Another candidate!
    Hi Sarah

    You should have included Torbjörn Ward of Aptilo Networks - he's a guru and co-founder. Ericsson hardly market Wi-Fi at all, at least not to my knowledge. 
    SarahReedy
    50%
    50%
    SarahReedy,
    User Rank: Blogger
    12/30/2013 | 12:29:55 PM
    Re: Thoughts on the list?
    Yeah, I almost included Ericsson on the list (put them in "people to watch" instead), particularly because of the handoff technology that introduced that is supposed to fix the authentication issue. But, the tech is proprietary and no customers were announced, so I think it may be too early to call it a success. Definitely something to keep an eye on though. They will do a lot more with their BelAir buy too.
    DOShea
    50%
    50%
    DOShea,
    User Rank: Blogger
    12/30/2013 | 12:09:37 PM
    Re: Thoughts on the list?
    If you look at where a lot of the news has been coming from the last couple years, this list hits a lot of the key names. Vendor-wise, is someone from Ericsson worth consideration? I thought they were doing a lot after the BelAir deal, though I admit to not being very steeped in this particular segment.
    SarahReedy
    50%
    50%
    SarahReedy,
    User Rank: Blogger
    12/27/2013 | 9:12:12 AM
    Thoughts on the list?
    So what did everyone think of the list? It's pretty extensive, but there's a lot of action going on in carrier WiFi and more to come next year. Did we miss anyone that should be on it?
    SarahReedy
    50%
    50%
    SarahReedy,
    User Rank: Blogger
    12/27/2013 | 9:11:32 AM
    Re: Wifi Deployment
    My hope is that WiFi remains free, but I think the more it improves, the more operators wil look for ways to charge for it. I'm hoping they'll stick to other ways to monetize it like advertising, promotions and partnerships. It's hard to take something we've always enjoyed as free and make it a paid-for service.

    That's on the mobile side though. Cable is certainly booming in WiFi and is a different use case and business model a lot of the time. Seems like most are using it to encourage customers to upgrade to higher tiers of broadband service.
    MarkC73
    50%
    50%
    MarkC73,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    12/23/2013 | 4:33:28 AM
    Wifi Deployment
    In the realm of personal consumer internet service, do you think Wifi will move from an on par benefit to a true differentiator?  Locally, and I don't have the service myself, but heard that TWC did a pretty good job with their Wifi deployment.  It's pretty new so it's probably underutilized but heard the coverage on the streets they do have installed is pretty responsive and seamless (and it's free for their customers).

    I think mobility is key, people want easy access, a free hot spot is one thing, but would you add to your monthly bill in order to have limited but predictable wifi in major urban areas?  I mean the more coverage you build and the more predictable stable service, the more cost that's associated with it.
    Flash Poll
    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.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    How Telefonica Spain Considers Antenna Selection for LTE Network Deployment

    7|4|14   |   2:19   |   (0) comments


    Tony Conlan, Global CTO of RAN, Telefonica, shares his opinion on antennas in LTE network deployment: Tower space is the premier requirement on antennas; reliability is important to reduce OPEX; and EasyRET solution will be helpful for antenna maintenance.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    dtac Thailand: Multi-band Antenna & Capacity Solution for a Better MBB Experience

    7|3|14   |   3:45   |   (0) comments


    With the development of LTE, tower space and load are limited for new antenna, but users' capacity requirements are growing fast. To provide a better MBB experience, Panya Vechbanyongratana from dtac Thailand shared his experiences and antenna requirements.
    LRTV Documentaries
    BTE Panel: Network of the Future

    7|2|14   |   1:00:57   |   (0) comments


    Full-length video of the ATIS Panel Discussion: 'How Far Away Is the Network of the Future & What Does It Look Like?' from the Big Telecom Event (BTE) in Chicago.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Redknee Supports BH Telecom With Redknee Unified

    7|2|14   |   6.14   |   (0) comments


    Lucas Skoczkowski, CEO of Redknee, and Amir Orucevic, Director BH Mobile, discuss how the benefits of the Redknee Unified suite of products provide BH Telecom with innovation and leadership in the market, with the flexibility to launch services faster to the market, provide new and compelling promotions and pricing models, and combine services in order to drive ...
    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
    Infographics
    Allot's latest MobileTrends Charging Report shows that value-based pricing plans are up from 35% in 2011 to 85% in 2014.
    Hot Topics
    Microsoft to Axe 12,500 Ex-Nokia Employees
    Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/17/2014
    GM: 10 Car Models on Road With AT&T's LTE
    Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 7/18/2014
    Have IBM & Apple Partnered Their Way to Cloud Leadership?
    Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/18/2014
    The Municipal Menace?
    Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 7/22/2014
    FiOS: Slower Sub Growth, Faster Upload Speeds
    Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 7/22/2014
    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed