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Wi-Fi Offload May Be the Answer to Mobile Broadband Demand, Heavy Reading Says

As mobile broadband demand rises, MNOs are finding that Wi-Fi offload offers many benefits in the market, says Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider

Dec 18, 2012

BOSTON, Dec. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite its potential to siphon off revenue from core 4G/LTE services, Wi-Fi offload will continue to attract strong interest from mobile network operators because of its ability to expand mobile broadband capacity at a low cost, according to the latest report from Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider, a paid research service of Heavy Reading (

Wi-Fi Offload: Benefits Trump Costs for Mobile Operators defines seamless Wi-Fi offload, exploring its drivers and threats. It compares Wi-Fi to 4G/LTE and discusses how 3GPP supports Wi-Fi offload. Finally, it profiles 11 leading vendors in the market.

For a list of companies included in this report,

"While LTE networks and technologies continue to mature, it is both obvious and tempting for MNOs to leverage the ubiquitous presence of Wi-Fi to their benefit and eventually to meet mass-market demand," notes Claus Hetting, research analyst with Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider and author of the report. "The current belief among network vendors and MNOs is that Wi-Fi is needed and will become an integral part of the MNO technology landscape. This attitude represents a sea change, because until recently Wi-Fi was frowned upon as the inept little brother of 'real' mobile network technology, such as 3G and LTE."

Wi-Fi technology is an attractive option for MNOs when building wireless high-capacity networks, Hetting says. "The TCO of building Wi-Fi networks is allegedly around a tenth of that of 3G/4G network equivalents, so the business case looks strong provided that technical issues and commercial hurdles are resolved. The Wi-Fi and mobile industries are on convergent paths although it is likely to take a few years before the two technologies will be operating with end-to-end seamlessness."

Key findings of Wi-Fi Offload: Benefits Trump Costs for Mobile Operators include:

  • Carriers will need small cells, but what kinds will be preferred? Wi-Fi is becoming the increasingly attractive low-cost option above or complementary to 3G/4G.
  • The road to 4G/Wi-Fi offload seamlessness is complex, involving a host of new required protocols and technologies on both network and device sides.
  • 3GPP and IEEE standards are converging with Hotspot 2.0, ANDSF and other features.
  • Wi-Fi offload solutions include multiple solutions for radio, SIM-based and non-SIM-based authentication and architectures for integration to core networks.
  • Next steps include finding new offload business models and controlling Wi-Fi quality.
  • While the Wi-Fi small-cell savings are relatively clear, operational issues still leave room for real innovation.

Wi-Fi Offload: Benefits Trump Costs for Mobile Operators is available as part of an annual single-user subscription (6 issues per year) to Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider, priced at $1,595. Individual reports are available for $900 (single-user license).

To subscribe, or for more information, please visit: For more information on all Insider services, please visit

To request a free executive summary of the report, or for details on multi-user licensing options, please contact:

Jeff Geddes
Account Manager, Heavy Reading

Press/analyst contact:
Jennifer Baker
Marketing Director, Light Reading Communications Network

About Heavy Reading (
Heavy Reading is an independent research organization offering deep analysis of emerging telecom trends to network operators, technology suppliers and investors. Its product portfolio includes in-depth reports that address critical next-generation technology and service issues, market trackers that focus on the telecom industry's most critical technology sectors, exclusive worldwide surveys of network operator decision-makers that identify future purchasing and deployment plans, and a rich array of custom and consulting services that give clients the market intelligence needed to compete successfully in the global telecom industry. As a telecom research arm of the Light Reading Communications Network (, Heavy Reading contributes to the only integrated business information platform serving the global communications industry.

About Light Reading Communications Network (
The Light Reading Communications Network combines the most trusted telecom research brands with award-winning online communities and a rich events portfolio to deliver the only integrated business information platform serving the global communications industry. With the power of this platform, leaders who build, deploy, finance and regulate next-generation telecom networks are able to make more informed decisions on emerging market and service opportunities. Light Reading Communications Network is a division of UBM Tech (, the global leader in technology media and business information.

SOURCE Heavy Reading