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RCR Insights: Wi-Fi Offload

U.S. carriers are learning to see Wi-Fi as a supplement to their coverage rather than a competitor, but they have been slower to adopt it than have some of their counterparts overseas. Analyst Claus Hetting of Hetting Consultants and Matt Davis, VP of program development at Nexius, recently joined RCR Wireless to discuss Wi-Fi offload trends.
“One example is Orange,” said Hetting. The carrier’s Orange Connect client will automatically connect devices to preferred Wi-Fi hotspots rather than the 4G cellular network.
“We have also seen a couple of very progressive challenger operators in France,” said Hetting, citing Free’s sueccessful implementation of Wi-Fi offload. “Worldwide I’d say there are probably 20-30 Tier One-type operators, especially in Asia and in Europe, that are actively pursuing Wi-Fi offload as a strategy and have implemented what I call seamless Wi-Fi offload.”
Matt Davis of Nexius noted that several Asian operators rely heavily on Wi-Fi offload. “In Asia you have limited spectrum and that spectrum has a cost to it and you can only fit so much traffic — voice or data — over that spectrum and so Wi-Fi offload has become a key component to their strategy and their solution and it makes a lot of sense,” he said.
Hetting noted that U.S. carriers may be keeping their interest in Wi-Fi offload on the back burner for now, not wanting to speak about it publicly at the same time that they are asking the FCC to free up more spectrum for cellular coverage.
Watch the full interview below:


Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse is the publisher of Network Builder Reports ( At RCR, Martha authored more than 20 in-depth feature reports and more than 2,400 news articles. She also created the Mobile Minute and the 5 Things to Know Today series. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York and managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Martha is the board president of Austin's Trinity Center and is a member of the Women's Wireless Leadership Forum.

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