Monday, May 16, 2011

Would free calls make things better?

There was an article the other day on Fierce Wireless entitled "Enterprise not thrilled with Wi-Fi offload strategies."

The article alludes to enterprise IT networks carrying employees' smartphone data traffic over their Wi-Fi infrastructure.

This is a fundamental problem with offload - it's not a consumer (or business) feature/benefit. Offload is something that is for mobile operators. In return for providing offload, the mobile operator ought to provide something in return.

Would free calls make things better?

Last week, T-Mobile introduced free calls over Wi-Fi via its Wi-Fi Calling service. Now domestic calls to any number, placed over Wi-Fi, don't count against the subscriber's plan minutes or bucket.

In effect, T-Mobile is offering its customers a benefit for using Wi-Fi.

Rather than begging or pleading with people to turn on Wi-Fi for offload, T-Mobile is providing a positive incentive to use Wi-Fi (free calling); and in return, T-Mobile gets the benefit of offload.

Oh yeah, they get other benefits too. Wi-Fi Calling boosts in-building coverage - and happy subscribers with good coverage churn less.

It seems like one operator has finally hit on a plan to actually increase Wi-Fi usage in the home and office.

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