2016 Mobile Predictions: Wi-Fi First Services Become Reality, Part 1
The world of wireless gets more interesting – and more ingrained in other facets of life – every day. So RCR Wireless reached out to industry experts to solicit their predictions around the wireless space for the upcoming year. These are a few of their predictions.
The year ahead promises some interesting developments in the U.S. mobile market, particularly around the maturing of voice-over-Wi-Fi offerings and introduction of “Wi-Fi first” services by multiple service operators. Expect some major operators to debut mobile offerings, combining mobile virtual network operator approaches with the widespread availability of MSO-powered Wi-Fi deployments across both residential and public locations.
Unbundling continues while access technology loses its grip on voice and messaging
A look at the competitive landscape shows mobile carriers moving further into content distribution, continued unbundling of traditional, premium cable content and more service delivery over the top of broadband connections. With digital content and individual components of subscriber’s communications fast becoming a pick-and-mix aggregation of services, purchasable from many different providers, it’s a natural evolution for voice and messaging to form part of that unbundled set of capabilities.
Technology-wise, the timing couldn’t be better for MSOs to get into the mobile communications game. Where voice and messaging were once tightly integrated with the wireless access technology, the evolution of mobile networks to IP means Voice over Internet Protocol can now be consistently implemented across all of the available pipes reaching a subscriber. The ways in which voice was previously delivered – in a desktop environment, over a mobile device or landline telephone – all used fundamentally different technologies, so the economies of scale in creating a converged service offering were limited. Convergence meant more complexity rather than less. VoIP and IP multimedia subsystem have changed this dynamic.
The advantages of Wi-Fi first vs. services from non-traditional OTT providers
Carrier VoWi-Fi service differs in a number of key ways from the over-the-top offerings of disruptive players such as WhatsApp, Skype, Line and Viber. Firstly, it leverages the native dialer on the most desired handsets in the market today (i.e., Apple and Samsung) to provide a seamless service across cellular or Wi-Fi networks. Secondly, there is no “secondary” identity on the mobile device. A mobile phone number is used whether the subscriber is on Wi-Fi or cellular and a new number does not have to be created to benefit from the offering. In addition, there are continuing developments of network selection intelligence within the device, allowing the strongest and most reliable signals to be leveraged with handoff between Wi-Fi and cellular networks as needed.
This is an excerpt from 2016 Predictions: MSOs advance from experiment to service with Wi-Fi first offerings on RCR Wireless. Read the full story here >
Read part 2 of this series.
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