China Mobile is banking on Wi-Fi as a key part of its mobile broadband strategy, and wants OEMs to make Wi-Fi a default connectivity option for mobile users.
Wang Jianzhou, executive chairman of China Mobile, said that Wi-Fi is “an important supplement to cellular networks.”
Deploying Wi-Fi in data-intensive areas “can relieve pressure on the networks” to help cope with mobile data growth, he said.
“We will have 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide in the next three years, with terminals connecting to the network as data speed priorities dictate,” he said during the opening keynote session of the Mobile World Congress on Tuesday.
But Wang also said that he wants Wi-Fi to play a primary role in China Mobile’s TD-LTE mobile broadband strategy – and to that end, “I urge handset manufacturers to include embedded Wi-Fi and make it the default connectivity option.”
Wang acknowledged that one key challenge to this would be service authentication on hotspots.
“In some cases authentication is inconvenient for Wi-Fi, so easy Wi-Fi authentication is essential,” he said.
Wang also said that Wi-Fi hotspots offered in conjunction with cellular broadband should be enabled for roaming, citing last month’s reported agreement between China Mobile, KT and NTT DoCoMo to facilitate roaming between their respective hotspots.