May 28, 2015 — The Wi-Fi hotspot movement is, well, hot. Cablevision has been using this technology for a while in a program called “Freewheel.” Now, Comcast is eyeing a similar plan. Why not? They have over 8 million hotspots. Their plan, like Cablevision, is to offer an unlimited voice, text, and data and for around $30 per month, based on Wi-Fi hot spots.
This means that VoWi-fi is gaining in both credibility and reality, and devices specifically designed for this service are starting to materialize. However … all that glitters isn’t necessarily gold. Maybe one day, but not right now, there will be enough hotspots and diversity of devices to call it a trend. It will take a LOT of hotspots of cover the population anywhere near what licensed wireless can. And, there are still issues with Wi-Fi handoffs, latency and, frankly, it is unlicensed.
Not to say there isn’t a place for it. But for the near term, it will be an adjunct technology that will work in conjunction with licensed, much like data is being handled today.
Another rather convoluted area in Wi-Fi is how to monetize it. The reality is that Wi-Fi, directly, is an expense. It may contribute to the bottom line in peripheral business, like additional patrons, a bit better rents, or at venues, but the magic bullet is finding a way to actually make money directly off of it.
Well, hats off to the entrepreneurs at Maryland’s AllCity Wireless. It has launched a platform, called ÜberWi,” with an eye to making Wi-Fi as obnoxious as TV, with much the same model. It had to happen. The model works for TV, so why not for smart devices. Yes, you guessed it, their product connects to the Internet and existing access points and provides both the central management functionality and a platform to directly pummel customers with advertisements, special offers and other promotions. AAUGH!!! in the words of Charlie Brown.
This model is a bit different than the competition, though. It is cloud-based, easy to operate, and relatively inexpensive, compared to its competitors. Ahhh…just what I have been waiting for. Now I well need junk filter app for my smart devices.
October 2, 2014 — Mobile carriers are continuing to make strides to evolve their LTE networks to provide increased capacity through carrier aggregation, improved voice quality through voice over LTE and connectivity with Wi-Fi networks.
T-Mobile selected Ericsson to provide equipment and services for the expansion of its nationwide 4G LTE network, improvement of in-building, highway and rural performance, and expansion of VoLTE services.
The contract is an extension of T-Mobile’s 2012 build out, which featured Ericsson’s RBS 6000 base station equipment, installed 700 MHz, 1900 MHz and 1700/2100 MHz bands.
T-Mobile is the first U.S. wireless carrier to deploy enhanced Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (eSRVCC) technology, which enables a seamless handover of VoLTE calls from LTE to existing 2G or 3G networks. As voice remains a critical service for LTE networks, Ericsson has delivered its Session Border Gateway and Ericsson Media Resource System to support voice handovers using eSRVCC.
Nokia Networks is also providing LTE-Advanced equipment and services to T-Mobile in the 700 MHz and 1900 MHz bands for expanded availability of VoLTE and Wi-Fi seamless call/text mobility. The LTE equipment includes the Flexi Multiradio10 Base Station platform for 700MHz radio sites and the LTE/GSM RF sharing solution for 1900 MHz sites. As part of the agreement, Nokia Networks is providing LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation for all T-Mobile spectrum bands.
Customers will be able to use any public or private Wi-Fi connection for calling and texting. This new technology is designed to deliver seamless voice coverage between T-Mobile’s VoLTE network and Wi-Fi with compatible smartphones.
VZW Doubles Spectrum Access in 80 percent of its Markets
Verizon Wireless has launched XLTE in 22 new markets, bringing the total to more than 400 markets or four out of five Verizon Wireless 4G LTE markets.
XLTE, Verizon’s brand for LTE Advanced technology, doubles the amount of spectrum available through the use of carrier aggregation, which accesses both 700 MHz spectrum and the AWS spectrum . Customers with 4G LTE devices operating solely on the 700 MHz spectrum in XLTE markets also benefit from the extra capacity created by XLTE Ready device traffic moving to the AWS spectrum.
New XLTE markets span from Ocala, Florida, to Sedalia, Missouri, and Lihue, Hawaii.
All eyes may be on the possible merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, but T-Mobile appears to be keeping its eye on something equally if not more important: improving its network.
As its network data use increased more than six times in the past two years, the carrier has advanced its LTE footprint to 230 million pops. At the same time, it has expanded wideband LTE — 15 megahertz by 15 megahertz — to 16 markets.
The carrier has now rolled out voice over LTE (VoLTE) in 15 markets covering more than 107 million people with the expectation to go nationwide by the end of this year.
“Because our network has been designed for data, we’re now able to nearly double the data that supports voice calls for superior, crystal-clear HD Voice,” said CTO Neville Ray in a blog post. “In fact, we offer the highest-fidelity HD Voice possible — 23.85 Kbps voice codec rate. VoLTE also offers faster call setup times than a non-VoLTE call, and customers are able to access our LTE network during a voice call.”
VoLTE, which debuted in Seattle last month, can now be found in Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Long Island, New York; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; New Jersey; New York; Philadelphia; San Francisco; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.
This technology rollout is reportedly being funded by the breakup fee that T-Mobile received after the AT&T merger failed. Observers note that the $2 billion breakup fee that would be paid in the event of a failed Sprint/ T-Mobile merger might pay for the next round of LTE rollouts.