This was the belief of Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance, which is in charge of standards within the industry, as well as encouraging innovation.
Wi-Fi has been blamed by many in the mobile space for cutting into operator’s revenues, enabling over-the-top services such as Skype or Whatsapp to run over handsets, circumventing mobile networks.
Figueroa has had such conversations with the networks – of the Alliance’s 600 members, around 10% are mobile operators – but he claimed this attitude had changed to one that welcomed the technology.
More on Wi-Fi
“All operators around the world have a Wi-Fi strategy without exception, which is not surprising when 71% of wireless traffic travels over Wi-Fi connections,” he claimed. “These strategies vary depending on each operator but we are in the dawn of new business models being rolled out.”
Figueroa said a number would become Wi-Fi providers themselves to keep their customers or win over new ones, while others would co-operate with [more established] players. Either way, the days of operators damning the world of Wi-Fi were now in the past.
“The era of reticence and resentment is gone,” he said. “Operators are now embracing Wi-Fi and are going to roll it out, be it as a new revenue stream or a way to offload data that is burdening their networks.”
“The fact is consumers are demanding Wi-Fi so operators need to provide it.”