Dean Bubley has written a white paper for iPass on the opportunities of WiFi for mobile operators. The white paper looks at business cases and usage models, as well as technology evolution and pitfalls. It covers all these issues with examples, explanation and opinions, and introduces the concept of “WiFi Neutrality” which Dean wrote about recently in The Multi-WiFi Future: The Need for WiFi Neutrality:
We may see the emergence of “WiFi Neutrality” as an issue, if particular WiFi accesses start to be either blocked or “policy-managed” aggressively. Seams will be neat and well-tailored, rather than connection being “seamless” as the (increasingly discredited) hype would have it.
Dean’s white paper is timely because more mobile operators have been deploying Wi-Fi networks to offload data traffic (see KDDI Launches Largest 3G to WiFi Offload Network in Japan) and as Dean states in the white paper, the adoption of WiFi by mobile operators is catalysing a series of new standards developments and industry initiatives.
One of the most contentious issues, in my opinion, will be this: who controls your device? If you buy a subsidized smartphone from an operator, does the operator get to dictate to you (via the software installed on your phone) how you connect to WiFi networks? Will your device force you to use the operator’s network and the networks of its roaming partners even if you don’t want to? Will it control which apps and sites you use?
Download the iPass white paper.