Mobile networks still 'not ready for data': Altai

Joseph Waring
18 Jun 2010

Mobile operators are not ready for data demand because they have integrated voice and data over a single network, says Wi-Fi firm Altai.


Altai president Lin Chi Hung told Show Daily that operators have just added data to their voice architecture. “And they call it 3G. 


Voice and data have totally different requirements but they put them into a single architecture. I don’t think it will work.”


Said Lin: “There is no need to integrate at the network level, which is what make it so expensive. Why not let 2G handle the voice and let IP take care of data? It’s probably a conspiracy because operators don’t like IP offload.”


Hong Kong-based Altai, a maker of Wi-Fi equipment, has seen soaring demand for its Wi-Fi access points for 3G data offload as well as data backhaul.


The company started in the ISP market in emerging markets, but since data demand exploded last year, it has been targeting operators in developed countries. “There is huge demand for 3G offload from operators. It’s a much larger market than with ISPs.”


Lin said the advantage of Wi-Fi as an overlay to offload data is that the base stations can be co-located with existing cell sites and provide 80% coverage. He said expanding 3G capacity is expensive, “so telcos can use opex to build an overlay network without any additional investment.”


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