Carrier WiFi

BelAir Racks Up Cable Wins

CHICAGO -- 4G World 2011 -- BelAir Networks Inc. is providing Wi-Fi gear to Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), Light Reading Mobile has learned.

The vendor, exhibiting here at 4G World this week, adds these MSOs to a customer roster that also includes AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). Cablevision and AT&T also use Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) Wi-Fi gear in conjunction with BelAir. (See Report: AT&T to Put Wi-Fi in 20 NYC Parks, Time Warner Cable Flies WiFi in NYC and TW Cable Places Bigger Wi-Fi Bet.)

A BelAir spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday that the vendor is powering all three of the cable operators’ broadband-to-go services with Wi-Fi hotspots integrated with their respective back-offices.

Why this matters
Wi-Fi offload is becoming an important and large market for wireless operators, who are looking to Wi-Fi as one solution alongside Long Term Evolution (LTE) and the Heterogeneous Network (HetNet). That's good news for the vendors providing hotspots, but it's also made it a fiercely competitive space.

In fact, Ruckus Wireless Inc. Senior Director of Field Marketing Steven Glapa says that, "to the same extent BelAir is, quote, working with [Comcast, TWC and Cablevision], we are." He would only confirm, however, that Ruckus is in trials with the MSOs.

Most operators -- cable and wireless -- will end up using more than one Wi-Fi vendor as they'll need all the help they can get to free up space on their wireless networks or, in the case of cable, to extend services. But with BelAir and Ruckus already trading jabs, each customer win is clearly going to be hard fought.

For more
Wi-Fi offload is shaping up to be part of every wireless operator’s strategy. Read up on the market below.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:50:26 PM
re: BelAir Racks Up Cable Wins

BelAir's CMO Ronny Haraldsvik had a pretty solid four-part rebuttal to Ruckus. Here are the two main points:

1. "When we say we are working with someone, that means we have a customer-vendor relationship (revenues/services-based).

2. Enterprise Wi-Fi vendors coming into the carrier space should be a little more careful about who they claim as customers. Shipping one AP to an office for a "look see" does not constitute a customer relationship, nor does it come close to BelAir's 10,000s of small cell nodes and core network integration with major mobile and cable operators."

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