& cplSiteName &

Top 10 Carrier WiFi Movers & Shakers

Sarah Thomas
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  | 
  • Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
    Sarah Thomas
    50%
    50%
    Sarah Thomas,
    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. 
    Sarah Thomas
    50%
    50%
    Sarah Thomas,
    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.
    Sarah Thomas
    50%
    50%
    Sarah Thomas,
    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?
    Sarah Thomas
    50%
    50%
    Sarah Thomas,
    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.
    Educational Resources
    sponsor supplied content
    Educational Resources Archive
    From The Founder
    Download our complete guide to de-risking NFV deployment in 2016, including:
  • An eight-step strategy to deploying NFV safely, based on input from the companies that have already started virtualizing their production networks.
  • Interviews with leading executives at Colt, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Cisco, Nokia, ZTE, Ericsson and Heavy Reading.
  • Flash Poll
    Live Streaming Video
    Prepping for the Future: Upskill U Explained
    During this short kick-off video, Doug Webster, Vice President of Service Provider Marketing, Cisco, and Light Reading’s CEO & Founder Steve Saunders give an overview of Upskill U.
    Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
    Atrinet's NetACE – Migration to NFV & SDN With NetOps-Driven LSO

    5|4|16   |     |   (0) comments


    At Atrinet's headquarters, Ray Le Maistre sits down with Roy Silon to get an in-depth look into the company's focus and the secret recipe for their success.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Amsterdam ArenA, Powered by Huawei

    5|4|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Huawei's ICT solutions power the state-of-the-art Amsterdam ArenA, turning it into a smart stadium.
    LRTV Interviews
    Testing When There's No 'There' There

    5|4|16   |     |   (0) comments


    The benefits of SDN/NFV are well known, but the transition comes with some challenges, prominent among them is: how do you test a network that has been abstracted and has the potential to be endlessly reconfigurable? Light Reading was at NFV World Congress in Santa Clara, Calif., where we bumped into Mats Nordlund, CEO and co-founder of Netrounds, a Swedish ...
    LRTV Interviews
    Ditching the Slash & the Orchestration Wars

    5|3|16   |     |   (2) comments


    SDN and NFV have been inextricably bound with each other for so long that on a conceptual level, smooshing them together into one catch-all phrase – SDNFV – is now justifiable, according to Dan Pitt, executive director of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). Light Reading spoke to Pitt at the NFV World Congress, where he explained that the next ...
    LRTV Custom TV
    ZTE TV Connect Highlights

    5|3|16   |     |   (0) comments


    ZTE gives us a tour of its booth and new products at TV Connect in London.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Deluxe's Unified Delivery Solution

    5|3|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Join Alan Breznick of Light Reading and visit the Deluxe booth at NAB! Here you'll find Deluxe's Unified Delivery Solution, OTT video, virtual reality, HDR, 4K and much more!
    LRTV Interviews
    Verizon Puts Gray Boxes in the Shade

    5|2|16   |   04:33   |   (1) comment


    When it comes to the white box trend, "gray" boxes, which have a slight proprietary twist, don't give service providers and end users the advantages they're seeking, according to Verizon's Vice President of Product and New Business Innovation Shawn Hakl.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Dealing With a Disrupted Video Market

    5|2|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Ericsson's Simon Frost discusses how traditional pay-TV providers can cope with the big changes wrought by the rise of OTT video and IP technology.
    LRTV Custom TV
    The VNF Responsibility of Red Hat

    5|2|16   |     |   (0) comments


    At MWC, Caroline Chappell of Heavy Reading visits the Red Hat booth and sits down with Chris Wright to talk about the responsibility the VNF needs to take on in order to ensure the operators get the carrier-grade performance they expect for their network.
    LRTV Interviews
    AT&T Expert on the Key Pillars of UC

    4|29|16   |   03:58   |   (0) comments


    Vishy Gopalakrishnan, AVP of product marketing at AT&T, talks about the three developments that are making unified communications and collaboration secure and reliable for enterprise users.
    LRTV Documentaries
    LRTV Report: Mobile Core Innovation

    4|28|16   |   25:32   |   (0) comments


    Hear from multiple industry experts from Deutsche Telekom, SK Telecom, Heavy Reading, Huawei, Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, NEC and many more about developments in the mobile core as operators virtualize their IMS and evolved packet core systems and prepare for a 5G world.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    NFV World Congress Highlight

    4|26|16   |     |   (0) comments


    The highlight of the NFV World Congress contains exciting telecom news. Join us for an inside look at Huawei's ICT 2020 plan and its latest collaboration with industry leaders.
    Upcoming Live Events
    May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
    May 23, 2016, Austin Convention Center
    May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
    December 6-8, 2016,
    June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    All Upcoming Live Events
    Infographics
    A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
    Hot Topics
    Ultra-Broadband Summit, Hong Kong
    Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/27/2016
    Amazon AWS Reports $2.6B Quarterly Revenue, Up a Colossal 64%
    Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/28/2016
    WiCipedia: Woman Cards & Bitch Switches
    Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 4/29/2016
    Sprint CEO: Our Spectrum Is for 5G
    Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/3/2016
    Amazon & Other 'Big 4' Cloud Providers Crushing Competitors
    Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/29/2016
    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed
    BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
    In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
    Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
    Animals with Phones
    Sloth Mail Click Here
    Sloth mail -- somehow even slower than snail mail.
    Live Digital Audio

    Of all the tech companies in the Valley, Intel has made the most aggressive commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. It's doing so by taking concrete, measurable steps, making a large financial investment and through a commitment to complete transparency about its progress. In this radio show, WiC Director Sarah Thomas will be joined by Shlomit Weiss, Intel's Vice President, Data Center Group, and General Manager of Networking Engineering, who will share with us why Intel is tackling this huge challenge, how and to what effect. She will also discuss her unique experiences leading development of Client SOC development in the past and today leading development of all of the chipmaker's silicon hardware for networking IPs and discrete devices and managing a team of 600 engineers across Israel, Europe and the US.