Friday, July 30, 2010

MobiTV App Prohibited From Working over Wi-Fi

For mobile operators, there is an ugly truth about basic Wi-Fi offload that no one wants to talk about: the packet services you can collect revenue for can not be offload to IP, or worse yet, aren’t even accessible when Wi-Fi is on.

MobileCrunch writer Devin Coldewey covered the story of trying to run AT&T’s MobiTV service on his Android phone.

AT&T supports ‘basic’ Wi-Fi offload, which means the Wi-Fi radio dumps web traffic directly to IP, but must maintain a 3G connection for any operator hosted service.

But the problem with basic Wi-Fi offload is that revenue generating packet services, like MobiTV, can’t be offloaded to Wi-Fi because there’s no secure connection from the mobile core network to the smartphone. Whoops.

Smart Wi-Fi addresses this specific problem. Smart Wi-Fi creates that secure connection between the handset and the mobile core network so paid packet services like MobiTV (and visual voice mail, and MMS, etc…) can be delivered to the subscriber over Wi-Fi.

Throw in 3G data caps, and Smart Wi-Fi is better than sliced bread.

The operator wins two ways: first, they can continue to sell data services that actually make money, rather than simply transporting non-revenue generating YouTube traffic. Second, they can offload those valuable data services to Wi-Fi.

The subscriber wins two ways as well. First, they get access to the service over lightening fast Wi-Fi. Second, by using Wi-Fi they avoid the tiered data cap.

Wow, Smart Wi-Fi looks like it’s a win-win-win-win situation.


Anonymous said...

And what exactly is the difference between smart-wifi and UMA?

Steve said...

Great question and thanks for reading. UMA and Smart Wi-Fi are both commercial deployments based on the 3GPP GAN standard. Smart Wi-Fi is new and enables consumers to make and receive calls, send texts on their smartphones, thereby offloading the operator's mobile network. You can read more about it at