Can operators become your WiFi concierge partner?

There’s been a lot of talk about mobile operators and WiFi across the years. I still remember when Orange insisted that Nokia factory disable the VoIP portion of the Nokia N95s for their subscribers, just in case they used the WiFi and VoIP features to hurt call revenues.

The data capacity crunch changed things somewhat, with shocked operators scrambling to react and running head first into the open arms of WiFi providers. The talk then was about “offloading”.

And whilst there’s still a lot of that discussion going on; most advanced consumers now recognise that downloading a 6GB HD video on your “unlimited” wireless data connection isn’t necessary the best use of network resources. Fixed line connected to WiFi is better; and usually faster.

The sad reality is that it’s stupidly difficult, still, to seamlessly roam from a cellular network to a third-party WiFi network like BT Openzone or The Cloud. The difficulty stems from authentication. Or, actually, the lack of it. I’d like to see it all managed for me — with my operator acting as the concierge partner or manager.

Telling me that I’ve got gigabytes of WiFi usage included in my service plan is hardly useful when it’s too annoying to even bother connecting to that WiFi. Or even finding your access credentials. I still don’t know what’s happened to my Vodafone BT Openzone WiFi details. Nor do I know where to get them. I thought they were on the user portal but I couldn’t find them.

The good news is that this issue of operator supported (or enabled) WiFi is under review by the industry. In a recent survey by the team at Amdocs, over 30+ global providers indicated they were ‘gearing up’ to address this integration point.

What can we expect? Well, I asked Amdocs’ Ann Hatchell (Director of Data Experience Marketing) to briefly discuss the survey results and give us an idea of what we might soon see hit the marketplace.

Have a listen to our call below:

Thanks for taking the time Ann!

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

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