In an interview with Light Reading Mobile, Yves Bellego, director of technical network strategy at Orange, explained that while the operator already has deployed more than 30,000 Wi-Fi hotspots, Wi-Fi access needs to be "completely transparent" to the customer, which requires a standardized way to select the wireless access on all devices.
In addition, that access selection needs to be secure, so that "we know which customer is connected to which access," he added.
"Once we have that, I expect Wi-Fi access to develop a lot," he said.
But how soon might Orange get its wish for Wi-Fi standardization and service integration? According to Bellego, it's "not so far" off. He noted that there has been some standardization progress and pointed to the HotSpot 2.0 initiative as an example.
The full video interview is below and Bellego's comments about Wi-Fi start at about the 2:15 minute mark.
Wi-Fi, along with various other small cells, will be part of Orange's future mobile network strategy, but Bellego stressed that small cells were not the only way to ensure decent coverage and capacity. "We still need more spectrum for the macrocellular network and improve the capacity of that network."
Even so, Orange was among the many companies talking up the importance of Wi-Fi as a complement to cellular broadband coverage at this year's Mobile World Congress. Here's our collection of Wi-Fi coverage:
- Cisco’s Big Small-Cell Ambitions
- Cisco: We're Doing Small Cells Too
- Ericsson Adds Wi-Fi With BelAir Buy
- MWC 2012: Small Cells, Wi-Fi and VoLTE
- Ruckus Packs Wi-Fi & LTE Into Small Cells
- MWC = Mobile Wi-Fi Congress
- AlcaLu Tackles Wi-Fi Handoff
- Stokin' Up Wi-Fi's Operator Cred
— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile