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Carrier WiFi

Israel to Put the Kibosh on Carrier Wi-Fi Offload?

While most of the world's operators are looking at how to integrate carrier Wi-Fi into their network strategies, their use of the unlicensed spectrum is due for a major setback in Israel. According to a report in the Globes, discovered by blogger Azi Ronen, Israel's Minister of Communications Gilad Erdan is set to ban communications service providers (CSPs) from using unlicensed frequencies for Wi-Fi services in public places. The decision, following a "long public consultation process," is based on the spectrum shortage in the country. Erdan says that letting CSPs use the frequencies will "limit the public access to the Internet." The Ministry's tests found that Israel only has 200MB of spectrum allocated for Wi-Fi compared to the U.S. and Europe where 500MB is set aside, making it a scarce commodity. Municipalities and other public organizations will still be allowed to offer free public Wi-Fi services. The distinction between carrier Wi-Fi use and public use is an interesting one. As wireless analyst Dean Bubley points out in his blog, it suggests that sponsored Wi-Fi is more valuable to the city given that it adds to public Internet access versus just substituting 3G/4G connectivity for Wi-Fi. But it also raises some some important concerns about the future of carrier Wi-Fi. The wireless operators have high hopes for Wi-Fi as they look to integrate it with their own heterogeneous networks. That includes applying policy to authenticate users, testing out new business models including monetizing Wi-Fi through ads and generally treating the network as if it were its own with guaranteed quality of service and improved security. If they are banned from participating in public spaces, their opportunities would be severely limited. (See Carrier Wi-Fi: Always Best Connected.) They wouldn't just be missing out on a business opportunity, but would lose the primary way they relieve congestion on their cellular networks. This type of government regulation most likely wouldn't catch on outside of Israel (and it's not a given that it will be passed there), but it's something the network operators should be keeping an eye on as they make huge bets on Wi-Fi. — Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

Galileo 7/22/2013 | 9:27:19 PM
re: Israel to Put the Kibosh on Carrier Wi-Fi Offload? What is offensive in "put the kibosh" ?
Matthi 6/5/2013 | 5:54:07 AM
re: Israel to Put the Kibosh on Carrier Wi-Fi Offload? What does 200MB stand for? I think available spectrum is measured in Hertz.
Telco 6/4/2013 | 7:36:53 PM
re: Israel to Put the Kibosh on Carrier Wi-Fi Offload? Really good issue here. Since 1998, I have put our Cable MSO triple play Broadband on public wi-fi in partnership with the local WISP dominant in the urban space. Often hosting their authentification servers, billing platforms etc... The Dominant mobile operators often prevented their consumers from using. Then soon my network users were competing with the Mobile operators on this lit-up WISP Access Points. Today, in just a few congested metro areas, a WISP and frankly some medical centers and education facilities (ISM) cannot get their AC points enabled for their constituents BYOD who are using a Mobile operator subsidized device again.

I can see why there is consideration to ask the service providers, perhaps even my own to be pushed back into carrier spectrum.
CraigPlunkett 6/4/2013 | 3:30:40 PM
re: Israel to Put the Kibosh on Carrier Wi-Fi Offload? Actually, a good neutral-host Wi-Fi operator worth their salt should be able to give a customer that they are wholesaling to some kind of SLAs and management tools so that the end customer owner can at least troubleshoot any issues they have, if not resolve them.
N1ss1m2 6/4/2013 | 6:30:17 AM
re: Israel to Put the Kibosh on Carrier Wi-Fi Offload? Interesting article, however, I find the title offensive (sorry for my limited sense of humor), please keep politics out of this, its an interesting regulatory debate
DeanJB 6/3/2013 | 6:00:51 PM
re: Israel to Put the Kibosh on Carrier Wi-Fi Offload? Applying policy or automated (so-called "seamless") authentication to carrier WiFi is one of the main reasons I can think of why governments *should* consider regulating it.
Sarah Thomas 6/3/2013 | 5:14:39 PM
re: Israel to Put the Kibosh on Carrier Wi-Fi Offload? True, but then they wouldn't be able to integrate it into their networks and apply policy in the same way they could if they owned it outright. The legislation seems strange to me...we'll know within the week if it comes to pass.
MordyK 6/3/2013 | 5:02:55 PM
re: Israel to Put the Kibosh on Carrier Wi-Fi Offload? Theoretically they can build on behalf of local facilities and manage the networks while coming to arrangement akin to Boingo for roaming their devices on those networks.
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