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Enhanced carrier wifi reduces churn, improve loyalty

Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO at The Wifi Alliance

The majority of consumers (74 per cent) in France, Germany, Sweden and the UK are willing to switch service providers in order to gain access to seamless wifi discovery and authentication features, according to research published Tuesday. Moreover, 91 per cent said they would be more loyal to a current service provider that offered a service which incorporated these features.

The findings come from a survey conducted among more than 2,000 smartphone and tablet users by wifi association the Wifi Alliance, which claims the results highlight the fact that the carrier wifi opportunity for mobile operators extends beyond smartphones.

It noted that tablet usage in homes and on public wifi networks is on the rise and approaching rates similar to smartphone usage. According to the study, over a third of tablet users connect their devices to public wifi networks today and 57 per cent reported that they expect to connect their tablets via hotspot networks three years from now.

Wifi Alliance CEO and president Edgar Figueroa told telecoms.com that operators are investing in wifi offload mainly due to the high demands they currently see on their networks. This is a play for both mobile and fixed line operators, he added, and wifi is becoming an important component of hetnets.

He noted that the Wifi Alliance’s Passpoint programme aims to transform the way users connect to wifi hotspot networks by making the process of finding and getting access to the right network seamless.  It also provides security protection to user connections, he said.

“We have more than 30 operators on board so far; the idea is to make inter-carrier wifi services,” he explained. “The return on investment for operators investing in carrier wifi directly depends on the business model, but it could be through additional subscribers, incremental revenue or even ad-supported wifi.”

“China Mobile is targeting deploying one million hotspots this year and China Telecom also doing lots in this space. In Korea wifi hotspots are more popular than anywhere else in the world and in Taiwan it has been mandated that consumers need to access their personal medical data – and wifi was the technology the government chose to facilitate this.”


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