The Wall Street Journal did a story today on T-mobile and their game plan for Wi-Fi. As many wireless enthusiasts know, T-mobile has been rolling out Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the country (most notable in Starbucks). I enjoyed the article because it focused on the opportunities that are available to T-mobile and not the rhetoric about licensed spectrum versus unlicensed spectrum.
With regard to Wi-Fi, it has often been noted, that once deployed, this technology would be bad for the carriers. The reason given - that minutes of use will disappear from the cellular network. The argument would continue that other companies will enter the market and wireless carriers would be doomed… Absolutely not!
This is a good development for consumers and spuring wireless broadband. Connectivity for the consumer will be solid and the operator will be saving capacity! About 60 percent of mobile calls made are fixed and indoors. If I can offload traffic off the network, I can continue to grow my customer base without worrying about the network deteriorating. I can also promote more data options. This strategy also allows other opportunities for T-Mobile. For instance, small to medium sized businesses (smbs) will be a sure target for T-mobile.
T-mobile is not the only company evolving. As we know, Sprint will offer Wi-Max as their next generation strategy. AT&T has more hotspots than T-mobile and spectrum in 2.3 GHz to deploy Wi-Max (if they want). Verizon Wireless is pursuing FMC (Fixed Mobile Convergance).
Consumers don’t care how they access the internet (or how the call is enabled). 3G, Wi-Fi or Wi-Max are tools for the carriers to utilize. Each carrier will choose how to incorporate a technology that works with their business plan. In this new world of mobility and broadband networks the only sure thing - the consumer is in charge and has a computer in their hand…