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 (www.heavyreading.com).

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, http://img.lightreading.com/uni/pdf/4gltei1212_companies.pdf

"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: www.heavyreading.com/4glte. For more information on all Insider services, please visit www.heavyreading.com/research.

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 (www.heavyreading.com)
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 (www.lrcn.com), Heavy Reading contributes to the only integrated business information platform serving the global communications industry.

About Light Reading Communications Network (www.lrcn.com)
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 (tech.ubm.com), the global leader in technology media and business information.

SOURCE Heavy Reading