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Entering the Wi-Fi Age Part 2: Rise of the ‘un-carriers’

By Claus Hetting   /     Feb 01, 2015  /     Uncategorized  /  

T-Mobile US has been using the ‘un-carrier’ buzzword for a long time – but there’s a lot more to the wider ‘un-carrier’ idea than what TMo is doing. This is a good time to have a long, careful think about how the carrier industry will need to shape up or ship out. It’s getting close to crunch time.

The Wi-Fi First movement is making a lot of sense

Consumers are very much aware that all the mobile connectivity you want can be had at extremely low cost or even for nothing with Wi-Fi. FreedomPop USA announced this week that they are serving up a footprint of 10 million Wi-Fi hotspots across the US for $5 per month. Scratch is free after you buy the phone. The economics of Wi-Fi are undeniable.

Is Google on the move (again?) with MVNO plans?

I’m not sure ‘MVNO’ covers what Google is thinking about doing. The goal is to get countless millions of consumers connected to Google’s cloud fast & cheap. For a while, carriers were more or less doing that. Right now, they don’t seem to be going in that direction. Google’s option of NOT getting into the service provider space (the ‘do nothing’ option) is wearing thin. And Google’s approach will certainly include a big Wi-Fi component – when they decide to go ahead.

Wanted: A way of connecting to a tsunami of devices

So here’s a big issue that carriers haven’t fixed: Connecting to 2-3-4 devices per person – and then there’s the myriad of machines of all kinds that will need connectivity. The most un-carrier thing to do is for MNOs to start serving non-SIM devices with Wi-Fi. I’ve been advocating this for ages. But they don’t seem to want to do it. The visionary un-carriers out there understand that they will miss the boat if they don’t do it. Or worse, the SIM will go away altogether.

Wanted: A way of delivering new services by the week

Google’s, Apple’s, Facebook’s, or even Amazon’s opportunity to profit from Cloud-based wireless services is effectively endless. The time from inception to launch will be soon be measured in a few months or even weeks. The right un-carrier network is anything that plugs seamlessly into the cloud. Wi-Fi fits the bill perfectly.

For more about all the tech and business innovation in the Wi-Fi world, don’t miss the Wi-Fi Innovation Summit coming up in April in San Francisco. Pre-register for our newsletter and info today. We’ll inform, connect, and inspire you.

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