Thursday, November 19, 2009

Breathe Easy with Wi-Fi

“I use my nose to breathe, but when I am feeling aggressive or excited, I need to use my mouth to breathe as well. Wi-Fi is the mouth – it helps you breathe better.” So said SoftBank Mobile Corp.'s Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son (pictured below) in a keynote speech at the Mobile Asia Congress. (As quoted in Telecoms Europe.)

“Over 50% of our data traffic happens at home during peak hours, and smartphones have driven our data traffic up ten times,” he said. “We need Wi-Fi to serve that traffic and give our customers a rich media experience.”

And so he says LTE isn’t fast enough for SoftBank. Other highlights of his presentation, as per Telecoms Europe:

  • Mobile data usage in Japan is already generating enough ARPUs to offset voice ARPU declines. But current HSPA connectivity isn’t enough bandwidth to serve existing usage, and migrating to LTE alone won’t help.

  • Softbank intends to migrate to LTE, but it’s not good enough to support customers when they use mobile Internet at home.

  • By 2024, he claims smartphone-like devices will hold 32TB of storage capacity.

Softbank is already selling a line of Wi-Fi enabled handsets, including the iPhone and owns a fixed broadband network that would supply the backhaul for home Wi-Fi users.

This past summer, ABI Research reported Wi-Fi in smartphones will grow from a 45% attach rate in 2009 to a 90% attach rate in 2014. In-Stat recently forecast the percent of handsets with embedded Wi-Fi will more than double during the next two years and said there were 121 models of cellular/Wi-Fi handsets introduced in the first half of 2009, almost as many as were introduced in all of 2008.

Clearly, there are lots of powerful Wi-Fi proponents. The question is, how will operators respond and stay ahead of the curve?

No comments: