27 Mar

Just How Important is Wi-Fi?

A recent survey conducted by global research and consultancy firm Analysis Mason for Amdocs reveals that not only is Wi-Fi evolving into a critical differentiator for service providers, but also revealed just how important it is.

Regardless of lingering technical and business related issues, 89% of all surveyed service providers (which include fixed, mobile, and cable), either already have or planned to deploy/leverage a Wi-Fi network. In addition to this, respondents rated the importance of Wi-Fi as >7 out of 10, with emphasis on the value of Wi-Fi for growth as a service provider. Most business owners tend to equate “Wi-Fi” with free access, and, if this is you, this might be key to differentiating your business. Free Wi-Fi access is a great way to essentially reward your customers for their patronage, and incents them to come back. With many network providers also offering email marketing kits linked to the Wi-Fi network, there is no limit to the advantages and benefits one might yield. Think as a business owner for a second: if you had the ability to completely customize the splash page of your in-house Wi-Fi network with branding, offers, coupons, and other enticing offers for your customers, wouldn’t you fully take advantage of this massive marketing advantage? Sounds like a win-win situation for business owners and service providers alike.
It is no secret that people want Wi-Fi, and they want it everywhere—seamlessly. Numerous municipal efforts to implement Wi-Fi prove this; and although many of those efforts have been terminated, cities are still striving for blanket Wi-Fi availability, including Chicago and Seattle who are both looking toward the advent of public and private networks, and New York City who just made an agreement with Google to light up part of the city.

A “seamless experience”, between cellular and Wi-Fi, which rated a staggering 8.1 out of 10 by those surveyed, still proves to be one of the top technical barriers in deploying; second only to authentication issues. Amdocs own vice president for product solutions marketing, Rebecca Prudhomme, stated, “This underscores the importance of having secure, scalable authentication and authorization solutions in place for ensuring a seamless experience as customers move in and out of the Wi-Fi network. Furthermore, real-time policy control opens up new opportunities for Wi-Fi monetization by allowing service providers to offer a range of differentiated services over Wi-Fi, such as tiered services and premium quality of service.” Which brings me to my next point:

Monetization. As most of the technical issues will be sorted out in due time, another area which needs a fair amount of innovation are service providers’ monetization models. While a generous 57% of service providers whom have already deployed Wi-Fi networks state they are monetizing their offerings, the survey also found that many of them are looking to revamp “old” monetization models which eliminate directly charging customers.

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