I’ve spent a couple of years evangelising about Wi-Fi offload with some success. The most common question I’ve heard during this time is this: “Sounds great. But what about voice services? Can we use Wi-Fi for those?”
I now finally have a good answer to that question: Yes you can.
VoWiFi is here and all you’ve gotta do is reach out and grab it (well, pretty much – you’ll need a bit of core technology and a Wi-Fi footprint of sorts too, but that can be fixed at a reasonable price). Here in Scandinavia you’ll probably very soon see an iOS8-loaded phone tossed on a table more than any other device. Apple’s got huge market share here.
And in case you’ve missed it: Voice over Wi-Fi (or VoWiFi) has hit the headlines recently with all of the big US MNOs jumping on Apple’s iOS8 WiFi calling bandwagon (plus EE of the UK). I’m sure we will see more announcements shortly.
That Wi-Fi calling is going to be pretty much in every handset is to me a foregone conclusion. It’s now up to MNOs everywhere to make VoWiFi a carrier service. In short: I believe this is the ‘tipping point’ for Carrier Wi-Fi.
Meanwhile, seamless Wi-Fi (data) offload has been here for what seems like ages. It’s even 3GPP standardised, secure, can be tunnelled, can be deep-packet inspected, all of that. If anything there are too many integration options to choose from. And this can be confusing.
So what are the carriers waiting for? Below you’ll see an organisation chart for a lot of carriers. Ok, so I may be insulting a few folks by poking fun at this. But it is funny and it is for the most part true. And it applies not only to carriers, if that makes you feel any better
Here’s the real deal: All the technology is in place now for carriers to offer both seamless Wi-Fi data and VoWiFi services for example in all the places where coverage and capacity is lousy – and where DAS & small cells are too expensive. This means at a lot of indoor venues all over the world. Do you think that subscribers would value that? I think yes. I certainly would.
If you don’t quite know how this may generate an ROI for you here are the two biggies: Ad revenue and subscriber retention. If you want to know more about those, stay tuned to this blog series and not least read this:
Reserve your seat at Europe’s premier Carrier Wi-Fi event this year: The Wi-Fi Innovation Summit in Copenhagen on December 9-10. We will be giving you all the tech and business insights you need to build you Wi-Fi strategy now. And you get to meet & network with the thought-leaders. If you’re half serious about Wi-Fi, you will want to joins us for this