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Deutsche Telekom Joins Rush to WiFi Offload

LONDON -- Open Mobile Summit -- Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT)'s WiFi offload strategy is well underway for iPhone users in Germany, according to the operator's CTO, Olivier Baujard, who keynoted this morning at the Open Mobile Summit.

Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Baujard told Light Reading Mobile that the operator would like to offload 20 percent of its cellular data traffic in an outdoor environment onto WiFi hotspots, and that it is now offloading just "a few percents" of its traffic. (See MWC 2010: Olivier Baujard, CTO, Deutsche Telekom.)

When Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone users are at home, Baujard noted, the data traffic is "100 percent" offloaded onto WiFi. "At home, users disappear from the cellular network."

Deutsche Telekom's iPhone users in Germany are automatically connected to WiFi when the devices detect a WiFi hotspot. Baujard explained that users just need to log in once on their home WiFi connection or at a public hotspot to activate the system.

The operator plans to increase its WiFi footprint across all its markets, and as this feature is added to more smartphones, the operator will be able to offload more mobile data traffic onto WiFi, according to Baujard.

Deutsche Telekom is the latest operator to reveal how it is leaning on WiFi to alleviate capacity on its 3G networks. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) announced yesterday a pilot of a public WiFi hotspot in New York to ease traffic constraints on its 3G network. (See MWC Preview: Data Offload to the Rescue.)

According to the new Heavy Reading paper, "WiFi Offload for Mobile Operators," operators that bundle WiFi hotspot access with mobile data packages include AT&T, France Telecom's Salt SA , Telefónica UK Ltd. , Verizon Wireless , and Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD).

"Over the past three years, mobile operator views on WiFi technology have fundamentally shifted from a position of hostile objection to passive acceptance, and now active engagement," says Heavy Reading senior analyst Gabriel Brown, the author of the report.

"WiFi is only one part of managing capacity and traffic growth," says Brown. "It has loads of potential, but there are issues as well."

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

OpEd 12/5/2012 | 4:34:41 PM
re: Deutsche Telekom Joins Rush to WiFi Offload

I am curious for these Wi-Fi connected subscribers who is on the hook for securing the Internet connection, or more accurately, who is responsible for the clean up?  If a DT users iPhone gets 'bricked' by some attack or some virus it catches from a Wi-Fi connection, does DT help them manage it?

I suppose this is a non-issue if both the RAN connection to the Internet and the Wi-Fi connection to the Internet are both managed by DT, but is that likely in all case?

It also strikes me that this approach certainly points towards DT embracing the dreaded 'dumb pipe' mobile broadband services model.  If users are dumped on to any available Wi-Fi connection, there is little value add to the connectivity.  I suppose that is why it is bundled for free.

Gabriel Brown 12/5/2012 | 4:34:37 PM
re: Deutsche Telekom Joins Rush to WiFi Offload

That is a good question. It depends what kind of WiFi we're talking about.

At home and at the office WiFi is reasonably secure (we all use it, no?).

At public hotspots 802.1X or other similar authentication mechanisms are used or are being introduced.


inte 12/5/2012 | 4:33:54 PM
re: Deutsche Telekom Joins Rush to WiFi Offload

That were great news!

I learned about that service in the US, where I could play around with Tmobiles wifi calling feature.

Given that Tmobile operates numbers of hotspots in Germany (even on some trains), enabling UMA-calling would be a great gain for Tmobile users and could even extend coverage in certain areas.

Can anyone provide some further information about the Tmobile plans for Germany?

Thank you!

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