Cellcos embracing Wi-Fi offload

Staff writer
13 Aug 2012

Mobile operators are increasingly turning to Wi-Fi offload to compensate for surging mobile broadband traffic, but today's carrier-grade solutions do not fully meet their needs, according to Ovum.

A survey conducted by the analyst firm shows that Wi-Fi offload is now being included in the majority of infrastructure strategy plans.

But many operators are still looking for Wi-Fi offloading features not currently available on a large scale.

Over half expect session continuity when moving between Wi-Fi and cellular networks, while over 90% are searching for a device-based policy solution that would select the best network (3G/4G/Wi-Fi) based on cost, performance, and other policy-driven factors.

“Just a few years ago, if one was to ask mobile operators about Wi-Fi, their responses would most likely have been negative,” Ovum principal analyst for network infrastructure telecoms Daryl Schoolar said.

“But this has long changed with rising concerns around how to manage the growth of mobile broadband. Now the issue is how best to build up sufficient network resources to manage Wi-Fi offload.”

Most operators polled rated Automatic Network Discovery and Selection Function (ANDSF) and Hotspot 2.0 technologies as important. But only a small minority are planning to deploy these solutions prior to their full standardization.

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