I recently concluded a Wi-Fi research publication and was struck by a double irony. A key finding is that any customer using a smartphone is now almost entirely untethered to a single cellular operator. The smartphone customer is truly king (as they say).
Thanks to Wi-Fi, a smartphone customer can access data at home, in the office and many places in between from personal or commercial Wi-Fi hotspots (in fact, most of the places where data is actually needed). Wi-Fi is in many cases cheaper, faster and more available whilst indoors. In other words, a smartphone user for the most part does not need cellular data.
Customers can also choose Wi-Fi to make voice calls. The common services we rely on for our daily messaging, also offer free voice services (often the better quality ‘high definition’ voice) and the iPhone 6 could take this to a new level.
The irony is that Wi-Fi uses radio spectrum which phone companies themselves proclaimed decades ago (at the height of their monopolies) should be license-free. They even pushed for their ruling to be made global. That was the very radio spectrum that now carries most of the world’s wireless traffic!
Dozens of smaller operators are now taking on the few larger players – and many times winning. I could have called this article ‘Goliath hit by his own stone’.
The second irony is that the cellphone operators have been driving into the market, the very phones that have Wi-Fi and can therefore offer customers new levels of freedom. Operators were clambered to sign distribution deals for the iPhone – the phone that led the pack in popularising Wi-Fi.
Of course, the wireless ‘battle for the customer’ is only just beginning. However, as a smartphone user, I should score whatever the outcome.
Source: Christopher Geerdts