Smartphones and handheld devices such as tablets continue growing in large numbers. This has created exceptional demand for ubiquitous connectivity, high quality rich digital content and applications.
Consequently, 3G networks in many regions feel overburdened with operators seeking a pragmatic solution to offload this mobile data crunch. A substantial share of high-speed data service demand comes from WiFi enabled smartphones, making WiFi the preferred data-offloading technology for alleviating congested networks.
However, 3G/4G-WiFi offload requires tying up with WiFi Service Providers as well as addressing Authentication, Billing, Charging integration by the Operators.
Subscribers are not interested in the inherent benefits of offload, and so operators cannot simply advertise ‘offload.’ Subscribers will only look to change their mobile usage if it affects the coverage and experience they receive or the price they pay.
Therefore, to change users’ behavior, operators must appeal to :
- Coverage enhancer for indoor since 50-66% of mobile usage occurs indoors in subscribers’ homes or offices. Thus, freeing up spectrum for outdoor users.
- Experience by providing the right tools. Smart Wi-Fi device which enables voice and data. Example - solution form Kineto.
- Costs by having cheaper calling and data services when making indoor calls since not everyone is plagued by the indoor coverage challenge.
Operator ’s cannot afford to allow their network services to deteriorate under the pressures of increased data traffic, and offload offers a simple solution. There must clever marketing incentives to encourage subscribers to change their mobile usage patterns to relieve congestion and improve the quality of service.
Key Questions Remained:-
- How seamless it is to the end user?
- Is it secure?
- Can service providers monetize?
- Unified and easy authentication
- Seamless switching between WiFi and cellular networks
- Fee or charges integrated into their regular mobile billing.