Subscribers today expect to be connected at all times. Whether you’re relaxing at home, eating lunch in a cafe, or even sitting in the car on a road trip with your family, it’s never been more important to be able to get online.
Worldwide, 46% of total mobile data traffic was offloaded onto the fixed network through WiFi in 2014. By 2016, more traffic is expected to be offloaded from cellular networks onto WiFi than what remains on cellular networks. WiFi connectivity is increasingly common in new cars, WiFi- only phones are now a reality, and this trend towards expecting an Internet connection anywhere, at any time, is likely to continue in the future.
What does this mean for you, as a broadband service provider? For starters, subscribers expect WiFi hotspots to be everywhere. Last year, a study found there was one WiFi hotspot for every 150 people, or one for every 11 people in the U.K. Right now, offering public WiFi for a small fee in airports or other businesses is an opportunity to add revenue, but it’s worth noting that customers are increasingly expecting to access public WiFi for free. The rise of initiatives like community WiFi — where home routers are turned into public WiFi hotspots to provide free Internet access to other subscribers to the network — mean that subscribers may be even less willing to pay for public WiFi in the future.
So why bother offering WiFi at all?
At the end of the day, customers expect it. As a broadband operator, you are in the position to offer public WiFi hotspots as an additional service, rather than as a means to gain new revenue streams. WiFi in places such as cafes, stadiums, or other high-traffic areas represent an opportunity to add value to your existing offerings, helping you remain competitive and reduce customer churn.
Delivering WiFi in addition to your existing wireline service may mean exploring new protocols and solutions. For example, TR-069 is a protocol that cable and wireline providers alike can use to extend public WiFi services. This could involve setting up a second channel on a modem to provide roaming WiFi without affecting the subscriber’s service.
You also have to be aware that subscribers don’t just expect you to provide a service — they also expect high quality of experience (QoE). As a service provider, you need to find ways to facilitate remote management and troubleshooting, or else face increased support calls.
Adding value and providing high QoE is essential to remain viable in a competitive environment. Find out more about how you can do this by emailing us at email@example.com