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Ericsson Predicts Swift End For Wi-Fi Hotspots 286

Posted by Zonk
from the kind-of-in-their-interest-to-do-so dept.
mikesd81 writes "Mobile technology group Ericsson is predicting a 'swift end' for Wi-Fi hotspots, according to the PC Pro site. Johan Bergendahl, the company's chief marketing officer, offers this analysis: 'The rapid growth of mobile broadband is set to make Wi-Fi hotspots irrelevant ... Hotspots at places like Starbucks are becoming the telephone boxes of the broadband era. Industry will have to solve the international roaming issue ... Carriers need to work together. It can be as simple as paying 10 euros per day when you are abroad.' He also pointed to a lack of coverage as a potential hindrance to the growth of the technology."
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Ericsson Predicts Swift End For Wi-Fi Hotspots

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  • by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:34PM (#22709812)

    Carriers need to work together. It can be as simple as paying 10 euros per day when you are abroad

    Sure it's simple, but it's not cheap.

  • by Damocles the Elder (1133333) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:34PM (#22709822)
    If I sit down at a place and have the option to either A.) Connect to a free wireless hub, or B.) Pay exorbitant amounts to connect my phone to my computer and connect at a horrible speed, which one am I going to choose?

    Wait, don't tell me, I can figure this one out...
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:35PM (#22709828) Homepage
    As soon as I can get cellular wifi for free, then and ONLY THEN will wifi hotspots go away. Until then the entire article is nothing but uneducated posturing by a company that has zero clue as to how the public actually uses the internet.

    Cellular modems are typically very slow unless you buy the high speed broadband type. And that's $50.00 a month for limited use. Even when I have my cellular modem with me I still use public wifi when it's available. It's faster, not capped with hidden transfer caps, and honestly smoother.

    Granted my only experience is with Verizon's and AT&T's offering. but wifi hot spots are here to stay.
  • Quite the opposite (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blhack (921171) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:39PM (#22709868)
    Places that DON'T have free wifi are finding themselves with a very easy decision:
    either get with the times, or lose business.

    It is assumed that a coffee shop will have wifi, seeing it at a restaurant is becoming more and more commonplace, and seeing it at an airport is starting to be expected.

    Does he mean non FREE wifi?

    This is something that has always baffled me. A really fast cable connection costs about 50 bucks a month (at least thats what I pay for 8down 2up in Phoenix)....a wireless AP costs anywhere from $20-100 depending on how much bullshit you eat from the idiot working at best buy.
    How can you not justify a $50 a month expense, and a $50 initial cost?
  • Back to reality (Score:-1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:39PM (#22709872)
    Wireless hotspots tend to be free (or included in the price of the beverage). What he is peddling is not. So, no, his prediction will not come to pass. But he sure wishes it would -- it would make his job a whole lot easier.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:39PM (#22709878)
    With the rates Bell Canada, Rogers, Fido and Telus charge per kb I believe Canucks like me will be using the "telephone box" for a while longer.
  • by LM741N (258038) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:40PM (#22709886)
    Uh, when exactly did mobile broadband become free? Will the shareholders of these companies allow them to give away internet connectivity. I think not. Right here I already have free municipal wifi so why would I want to pay for anything if I am just a casual surfer, which most people are? Of course the Bittorent, ftp, and other higher BW users are going to need something better than municipal wifi or hotspots. But its yet to be seen whether the cell phone carriers can deliver the goods cheaper than cable or DSL.
  • by VirginMary (123020) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:42PM (#22709922)
    I'd like to ask this guy how much money he makes. I am quite happy with my salary and "simple 10 euros a day" seems like a total ripoff to me. If it were maybe 1 euro a day I think it might be fair.
  • Ten euros a day? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ahfoo (223186) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:43PM (#22709936) Journal
    Doesn't that kind of bloated figure screw up his own argument that wifi is irrelevant? Was that a typo? In the long run when the price is right --and that price will have to be a lot lower than ten bucks a day-- it's quite obvious that wifi will be overtaken by other wireless technologies with wider range. But it's also obvious that there are going to be dozens of standards for different regions of the world for probably another decade or so. On an international scale, telecoms, much like electrical utilities, don't like cooperation because they make money by charging to overcome incompatibilities. Quite to the contrary, there are many cases where telecoms make their money by staying as inefficient as they can possibly justify.
  • by pieisgood (841871) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:44PM (#22709948) Journal
    CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER MARKETING OFFICER MARKETING /. I always held you in such a kind light, now I don't know what to think.
  • by gweihir (88907) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:46PM (#22709968)
    Hot-spots are low-latency, cheap to set up and maintain and there are actually quite a number you can use for free. The access device is also cheap and typically computer-integrated, even in low-end laptops. The mobile phone network, in contrast, has high-latency, is expensive to operate, typically expensive to customers and the access device can easily be more expensive than a lower-end laptop.

    This guy is just predicting that he will get more important without any factual basis.
  • by siddesu (698447) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:47PM (#22709986)
    especially in the form that is available now in most places. the problem with hotspots is their accidental availability -- you can never be sure that you will end near one when you need it, so rebuilding your "mobile internet experience" around them is pretty stupid. that being said, even when you know you can't rely on them, they can be a nice surprise. that's how i am treating the occasional hotspot -- as a convenience, sometime nice, and (very rarely) helpful in emergencies. that is as much i can say about hotspots.

    now, the issue of mobile connectivity is a different matter altogether. there is only one huge reason we still can't have reasonable mobile connectivity. it is because the mobile carriers are hellbent on not letting their networks 'decay' into something similar to the open internet, where they'll have to make money from network connectivity, and probably lose out on all their stupid "markup" services that are pushed onto the mobile users -- ridiculous "ringtone" downloads, ridiculous "official sites" and what not. once mobile connectivity becomes ubiquituous, all those "business models" will go, and most likely on day zero.

    until the governments (or, eventually, the invisible hand) turn the mobile services oligopolies into something more competitive, changes will be coming at the usual glacial speed.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:49PM (#22710010)
    I think most discerning users of any category WOULD NOT MIND PAYING
    if the service was speedy, relatively secure and monitored, somewhat private,
    and convenient for them to get their work done without issue.

    This does NOT describe any wifi spot I've ever encountered, however.

    A smart business might offer free wifi as an added 'bonus' to customers
    in the way a car dealership offers its clients a cup of coffee.
    Print the access code on the bottom of the cup, why not?

    It would be VERY interesting if some of these hotspots offered a 'wired' solution also.
    Wouldn't take much more in the way of hardware to implement, and the peace of mind is worth it.

    My .02

  • by themushroom (197365) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:49PM (#22710014) Homepage
    Most notebook computers come with WiFi built in, and the hotspots are free or low cost plus operate in places where other forms of connection may not be readily available (except apparently to the hotspots' hub). Not the case with cellular data service, where one needs a modem and a data plan, plus the service will not work everywhere (despite what certain TV ads broadcasting currently say), plus costs $50 a month for service. Free/ish and 'there' verses home broadband cost and extra equipment? Hmm.

    Additionally, those coffeehouses (and ferries, and restaurants, and so forth) stand to either do good by doing well -- wouldn't you frequent a business where you can get online free? -- or make enough coin to cover the service and then some. Cellular modeming only profits the telephone company. So WiFi is only a dying breed (wishful thinking) in the cellular providers' eyes, same as vinyl records and cassettes went away only because the industry said they were passe, not the consumers.
  • by jayveekay (735967) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:49PM (#22710016)
    1. Get the government to grant you a monopoly on providing communications service.
    2. Charge high fees to your (trapped) customers.
    3. Profit!

    Free (or cheap) Wifi has to be eliminated as part of step #1.
  • by One Childish N00b (780549) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:52PM (#22710050) Homepage
    The correlation is this: Ericsson are a dealer in mobile internet devices. It is in their interest for people to move to mobile internet devices as people who buy mobile internet devices might by an Ericsson one. Ericsson don't do wifi hotspots, so there is no way using wifi hotspots puts money from your wallet into Ericsson's pocket. This displeases Ericsson, so they will now crow from the rooftops that wifi hotspots are dead, in a bid to drum up business for their absurdly-tariffed mobile internet devices.

    Does anybody seriously listen when companies come out with this sort of self-serving 'analyses'? Do they think these companies make these statements out of the goodness of their hearts? If one person switches to a mobile internet device because of this, they're an idiot. Doublly so if they buy an Ericsson.

    (Posted from a wifi hotspot).
  • Premises (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EelBait (529173) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:56PM (#22710100)
    "Carriers will need to work together." Yeah, like that is going to happen. It took an act of Congress in the US to get our phone numbers portable. Do people really think that this sort of cooperation just magically happens?
  • "Just 10 euros" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sta7ic (819090) on Monday March 10, 2008 @08:01PM (#22710172)
    A quick check says that 10 euros is US$15. Let's look at some interesting metrics.

    * My 10 meg cable is $50/month or so
    * My rent is $645/month
    * My car payment is $420/month
    * Dinner and a good beer at the pub is about $15-20
    * This service would cost $450/month

    So, "internet freedom" would cost 2/3rds of a month of rent, as much as eating dinner out almost every day, nine times what my statically located service is (where I spend most of my time), and would give me little benefit compared to making a car payment.

    I think "just 10 euros" are much better spent on practical things.
  • Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iamacat (583406) on Monday March 10, 2008 @08:05PM (#22710200)
    Mobile carriers are going to provide the same 100Mbps performance as 802.11n, at 50 times the range, with many more expected users on one cell, reasonable send speed and good battery life? I find this new technology fascinating. Perhaps I should subscribe to their newsletter.
  • by NickFortune (613926) on Monday March 10, 2008 @08:08PM (#22710228) Homepage Journal

    I'd like to ask this guy how much money he makes

    Isn't it interesting just how far out of touch from reality he is? I mean, even after you allow for the self-serving corporate shill factor, he's still way, way off anything that sane people are going to want. That can be dangerous for a senior corporate officer, even in marketing. It may be his job to lie, but I suspect that the shareholders would like to think he knew roughly where the bounds of reality lay.

    You know what I think he's doing? I think he's extrapolating from the ridiculous margin the carriers make on SMS messages, and using that to calculate bandwidth charges. He thinks "they pay these rates for SMS, so they pay for connectivity".

    Of course, if too many people make that particular connection, it could end up having the opposite effect to the one he wants.

  • by leehwtsohg (618675) on Monday March 10, 2008 @08:13PM (#22710260)
    When mobile internet is cheap enough so that all locals who want wireless internet access will have a wireless mobile plan,
    then we (providers) will be able to leach off 10 euros a day from tourists, since coffee shops will not have wireless internet then -
    keeping it only for the tourists doesn't make sense.

    as if.

  • by postbigbang (761081) on Monday March 10, 2008 @08:22PM (#22710366)
    He can take his ten euros, his hardware sales, his subscriptions, and self-fornicate with them.

    What an abnormally stupid thing for even a marketing guy to say. It seems to thread together the common hubris among carriers, telcos, and their equipment providers. Quick-- somebody tell them about the lipfart problem before it's too late. I actually like Sony Ericsson phones (they last longer) over Moto, LG, and the iGroan.
  • by robertjw (728654) on Monday March 10, 2008 @08:37PM (#22710494) Homepage

    And at least in Sweden, free wifi hotspots isn't that common. The fee at hotels is about 20/week and on the train it is 10 for a 5 hour ride.


    Why is this? Doesn't seem to make economic sense, especially for the hotels.

    Here in the US the situation is pretty simple. The only people who charge are large established businesses with little competition. Starbucks charges because they have a large customer base. Every other coffee shop in town gives it away for free as an incentive to visit their location. Same thing with many hotels. Holiday Inn offers free wifi. I know, I borrowed it once (and my brother in law stays in a lot of Holiday Inns). About the only time a business charges for wifi is if they know people are going to come in and they can sell it as an upgrade. Wifi is a very cheap service to offer, so everyone else uses it as a loss leader (bars, tanning salons, dog groomers, whatever)
  • Yep (Score:3, Insightful)

    by StarKruzr (74642) on Monday March 10, 2008 @08:46PM (#22710580) Journal
    This is absurd. "Swift end," my ass. When mobile broadband is $40/mo all over the country, get back to me. I expect that'll be in about 20 years.
  • Re:Wake me up.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by alexborges (313924) on Monday March 10, 2008 @11:10PM (#22711534)
    Pffff....

    Japan sets the bar when it comes to cellphones. Secondarily, Nokia's Europe, but primarily, next-gen mobility can be seen in japan (and they have mobile broadband fast like hell and have had it for enough years for it to be mainstream and CHEAP).

    The US protects their phone companies like if they were the baby jesus or even (GASP) an airline and you (and myself, a third class non-us citizen), just sit down and enjoy our lunch, paying absurd comunications tarifs arbitrarily set by government sanctioned monoplies or oligopolies.

    And there you have it. We will call you when phone companies cease to be oligopolic assholes, okay?

    Now, i have NO idea why japan's Docomo, a really tough uber monopoly, can offer the absolute tip of network technology to all of japan, while mantaining their monopoly. No idea whatsoever.
  • by Demerara (256642) on Monday March 10, 2008 @11:27PM (#22711654) Homepage
    I pay about US$0.20 per Megabyte here in Pakistan. For that I get HSPDA and, so long as I'm in a city, it work well, reliable and fast.

    When I go home to Ireland, I put an Irish prepaid SIM card in my phone. I asked them (wisely) how much their 3G service costs. They told me it was Euro10.00 PER MEGABYTE. Needless to say, I disabled all the data functions on my Windows Mobile smartphone.

    Why the phenomenal difference between the two data tariffs? Nobody could tell me. Some media stories surrounding the announcement by the European Union that they were looking at Roaming charges suggested that the high price of data services cross-subsidises lower voice and SMS costs. In any properly regulated telecoms market, that sort of cross-subsidy should be banned. It is no longer business customers who want data services - telcos who stack it high and sell it cheap will gain market share and should smell the coffee.

    In fairness, a post-paid data-only 3G subscription is available in Ireland for Euro50 (for the dongle) and Euro15 per month (that will increase after three months and the service is capped at 5Gb per month). This is more reasonable. But 10 per day? No way Jose...
  • by ichigo 2.0 (900288) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @06:01AM (#22713564)
    The reason for that is that the European networks consist of many local operators. Vodafone [wikipedia.org], for example, only owns networks in roughly half of Europe, and they're a huge operator. Most operators are tiny in comparison, which is the reason they are forced to rent networks from other operators when their users are roaming. Hence, the large roaming fees that go to the operator who owns the network you are roaming in.

    I do agree that it's very expensive, but I don't think regulating it will fix anything. That would only bring up the costs for the majority of mobile users who don't need roaming. I'd prefer a huge, free WLAN mesh network that covers most of (urban) Europe. Then we could get rid of the middleman and ignore the whole issue.

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