WiFi+Cellular Access

Wi-Fi Networking News discusses the combined WiFi-cellular access market:

For cellular operators without their own Wi-Fi plays, a combined device might not pay off and could cannibalize their own cellular data networks. Technology Review Magazine suggests that cellular operators may view the combined devices as sort of a tease, to get users hooked on the idea of higher-speed wireless data just in time for them to start unrolling more ubiquitous and higher-speed cellular data offerings.

The catch will always be cost so theres a chance the tease may backfire. If users get hooked on Wi-Fi networks that are free to access, they may decide to go out of their way to find a free hotspot rather than pay for the cellular access which at least these days is far more expensive. However, its likely that a certain market segment will pay for the convenience of having the higher speed wireless data from the cellular operators in more locations.

I have been using WiFi on the notebook as I travel over the past week or so, and it is amazing. (In India, one does not have too many hotspots.) I think a combined service would be a boon for road warriors from the data access point of view – there just aren’t WiFi hotspots everywhere. And the service does not have to be free!

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.