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The Cloud Expects Wi-Fi Access to Benefit from UK 4G Mobile Broadband Delay

Posted: 11th Oct, 2011 By: MarkJ
the cloud wifi ukThe Cloud (BSkyB), a UK based Wi-Fi Hotspot (public wireless internet access) operator, has suggested that Ofcom's recent move to delay its forthcoming auction of competing 800MHz and 2.6GHz superfast (4G) Mobile Broadband radio spectrum based services (here) until Q4-2012 could be to its benefit.

Vince Russell, MD of The Cloud, told ISPreview.co.uk:

"The delay in the 4G auction means that Britain’s millions of mobile users won’t be getting the latest high-speed coverage until at least 2013. In the meantime high-quality WiFi access becomes even more important than it already is today. It’s estimated that the number of smartphone and tablets users in the UK will rise from 31.2m this year to 45m next year.

On their own, 3G networks will never be able to handle this demand – they are already creaking under the strain of the data traffic all these smartphones and tablets produce and it will only become worse in the next 12 months. Adding high-speed WiFi to complement 3G is one of the best solutions to this problem, and we’re already seeing major estate owners and network operators discussing this with us as they know they need to meet consumers’ demand for reliable internet access wherever they are."

It goes without saying that the Wi-Fi Hotspot market has, over the past few years, grown to become quite lucrative in the UK and could be threatened by a new generation of superfast Mobile Broadband services (assuming their coverage, affordability and reliability improves as anticipated).

The Cloud forgets that, according to Ofcom, only the auction has been delayed and the late 2013 date for the first actual service availability isn't new; 2013 was in fact part of the regulators original timetable (note: early 2014 is probably still more realistic).

In any case Mobile Broadband and Wi-Fi will continue to have different advantages and disadvantages. For example, Wi-Fi is embedded into a huge number of devices while Mobile Broadband is focused more on Smartphone's. Wi-Fi is also perfectly designed for distributing local internet/network connectivity from an in-door fixed line service (business or home). In short, they complement each other.
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