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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 dwater (72834) on Monday March 10, 2008 @08:19PM (#22710328)
    > some Other countries can be far worse

    Some other countries, are *far* better. China, for example, never charges for wifi - well, I've never found a place that charges. Even Starbucks has it for free. SPR Coffee. Pacific Coffee. All free - not even a home page or login. Just fire it up and go - like at home (probably very similar equipment and service).

    I use a free product called Devicescape [devicescape.com] where you can add hotspots and other wifi access points; it'll create a single fake access point on your device and automatically switch between the real ones when it finds them. Works pretty well on my Nokia E90. I added 'linksys' and a few other common SSIDs and it gets my email while I'm walking down the street, or on a bus :)

    But, yes, that certainly isn't cheap.
  • by siddesu (698447) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:20PM (#22710804)
    This is a nice workaround when you're allowed to have it -- and it illustrates my point. Not only is the technology needed for cheap and convenient mobile access available, there is even more than one way to do it. And still, there are virtually no providers that have reasonably and _understandably_ priced mobile plans (voice + data), adequate coverage and open devices.

    Instead, we have phones packed with shit we don't need. I have integrated walkman that allows me to buy any music the phone company believes is "good" in lossy format at inflated price. I can even copy it to other devices, if I buy some software from them. And my integrated "PC browser" shows me adverts from the carrier.

    (AU in Japan. Avoid them like teh plague. contract expires soon ;))
  • by darkpixel2k (623900) <aaron@heyaaron.com> on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:40PM (#22710980) Homepage
    for christs sake, the wendy's in this podunk town of 11,000 offers free wifi. im not about to consider buying a mobile internet card.

    No kidding. I just called Verizon about a corporate cell phone plan for one of my clients. They were quoting $1,000 for 10 lines with 1,000 minutes per phone, and no extra services. Data cards were $55/mo for 2 GB service plus something ungodly like $0.45/MB after you hit the 2 GB cap. And if you wanted text messaging it was just under $20/month/phone...and that only got you 200 text messages. Seriously Verizon, what the fuck? Slashdot mobile bandwidth price article here [slashdot.org].

    Too bad there isn't a cool open linux-based handset combined with a cheap radio running on a linux-powered box that could be used as a cell 'hotspot'...then you could start deploying them all over the place in a mesh and charge a flat monthly fee for unlimited in-network calls and a small per-minute fee for off-network calls which can be routed through some VoIP provider to POTS numbers...
  • Re:Yep (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wvmarle (1070040) on Monday March 10, 2008 @10:14PM (#22711164)

    Currently I am paying HK$488, or about USD 62 per month on mobile broadband, for laptop use. That is on a 3G (CDMS/HSPCA) network. Works quite OK but the network is not very well covering.

    And if you are happy with GPRS, then you can get unlimited mobile Internet for as little as $128 per month (USD 16,40).

    International roaming is also worked on; HK carriers offer unlimited China data roaming for about USD 120 per month.

    And of course WiFi hotspots remain cheaper, just like phone booths are/were cheaper than a mobile phone, but those work only in certain spots. Not on the train or the bus, for example.

    This is a US centric site, I know, so people please remember that the USA is about 10 years behind the rest of the world when it comes to mobile communication. If not more. Ericsson is a European company and their ideas are more for the European and Asian markets than for the USA market.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10, 2008 @10:47PM (#22711392)
    Many people here seem to be unaware of the lack of Wi-Fi hotspot coverage in Europe. And I didn't even mention the word free. In Finland, the Wi-Fi coverage is very spotty, unless you buy a subscription for unlimited service (and even these services are usually available only in limited areas). The advantage of 3G-based mobile broadband is that it covers a huge area, nearly the whole country (there are still many problematic areas, though). So you can you use the connection nearly everywhere and you don't have to worry finding a Wi-Fi hotspot when you want to check you email etc.

    And people who flippet out by the 10 euros/day remark: Go read the article again. The remark was in the context of international roaming, which is horrendously expensive in Europe. 10 euros/day for unlimited data roaming might not be too bad compared to the usual rates the carriers charge for this. When you're in your home country, these services can be quite cheap. Generally the prices start from about 10euros/month for 384kb/s unlimited access and go to 20euros/month for 1Mbit/s unlimited or 30euros/month for 2Mbit/s unlimited access. (These prices are from the price lists of major carriers in Finland: http://saunalahti.fi/gsm/mobiililaajakaista.php [saunalahti.fi], http://www.elisa.fi/matkaviestinta/liittymat/hinnasto/ [elisa.fi], http://www.sonera.fi/Puhelin+ja+liittym%E4/Liikkuva+laajakaista [sonera.fi]). Somebody commented in this discussion that mobile broadband that covers the whole country for 40$/month will maybe happen in 20 years. Well, it is already reality in Finland.

    Coincidentally, in todays edition of Helsingin Sanomat (the largest newspaper in Finland) there was an article about the rising popularity of "mobile broadband" (article in Finnish only): http://www.hs.fi/talous/artikkeli/Langattomalla+laajakaistalla+valtava+kysynt/1135234701006 [www.hs.fi]. Although the article talks more about the marketing of the HSDPA modems for laptops, it also mentions that the carriers expect that during this year about 10% of their clients will have subscribed to mobile broadband services. So the shift from Wi-Fi hotspots (that are nearly non-existent in Finland) to mobile broadband accesss is already happening - at least in Finland. I would imagine the situation is nearly identical in other Nordic countries also, and maybe in other countries in Europe.
  • by alexborges (313924) on Monday March 10, 2008 @11:01PM (#22711480)
    "Too bad there isn't a cool open linux-based handset combined with a cheap radio running on a linux-powered box that could be used as a cell 'hotspot'...then you could start deploying them all over the place in a mesh and charge a flat monthly fee for unlimited in-network calls and a small per-minute fee for off-network calls which can be routed through some VoIP provider to POTS numbers..."

    Enter google android. And we are going to make this cellphone company punks run like HELL for their money. The net has won, all we have to do now is defend it from this jerks.
  • by Da_Biz (267075) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @12:16AM (#22712056)
    The summary misses the vastly more reasonable figure of 20 euros per month, already available and expected to come down.

    I live in the US and pay Sprint about $60/month for unlimited, nationwide access to their EVDO network. I use a Novatel Wireless S720 PC Card (EVDO Rev. A) card and reliably get about 750-1250 kbit connections (sometimes, it's as good as 2-3 mbit/sec). Except for the monthly price, Sprint's abysmal customer service, and my questions about mechanical reliability of both the PC Card connector (lots of insertion/removal) and my specific card's design, I wouldn't want to give it up. Overall, the service is useful.

    However, I still look for Wi-Fi spots for two main reasons:
    1) If I don't have my power adapter with me, my laptop's runtime on batteries is shortened around 30-50% with the use of the EVDO card. If I suddenly get a ton of last minute work to do, I won't even bother firing up the Sprint card without the power adapter.

    2) Sometimes, it's hard to beat a fast WiFi connection. I generally don't need more bandwidth than the Sprint card provides on average, but several hotspots I go to have ponied up the extra money to support a solid Internet connection (4-7 mbit down).

    Until these are addressed, I think talk about WiFi's death is a bit premature...
  • by Virtual_Raider (52165) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @01:05AM (#22712342) Homepage

    I hate that too. "Grande" means big in Spanish, so as a native speaker it just sounds wrong to me and when I go I ask for a "medium-sized whathaveyou" and they ALWAYS try to 'correct' me. I usually politely reply that I refuse to to use their marketspeak and I point to the medium-size display glass that they usually have and repeat my request. I'm polite 'cuz it's their job, but I really hate that stupid naming convention.

    I always leave comments to that effect with different pseudonyms every time I go to a new store. No, I don't expect it to have any effect but it's not a life-or-death matter either so that's enough to calm my nerves. ;)

  • by badfish99 (826052) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @05:05AM (#22713336)
    The first time I went in a starbucks, being unfamiliar with the brand and wanting a coffee, I asked for an espresso. The person serving me looked at me as though I were a stain on the floor, and said "you *do* know what that is, don't you"?

    It turned out to be a small cardboard (!) cup of disgusting coffee. Now I know why everyone else buys coffee-flavoured milk in those places.
  • by hey! (33014) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @09:26AM (#22714998) Homepage Journal
    The thing is, they must know something about how language is wired to the buying impulse, because they're extremely successful and extremely insistent upon this point.

    My brother is a bigshot in the food service industry. He's very good at what he does. One day I mentioned to him that I'd ordered a medium soft drink at a fast food restaurant and it turned out to be 32 ounces -- as much soda as we used to order for the entire family when we were kids. According to him, this is a way to maximize sales. People tend to order a "medium" drink, regardless of the actual volume that is called "medium". They can't complain they aren't getting a good value, because it is, after all, a whole quart of soda.

    In the grand -- or shall we say "venti" -- scheme of things, what Starbucks is doing is not especially nefarious. They aren't manipulating their customers into drinking whole quarts of sugar water at a sitting. In a sense, by introducing a completely meaningless terminology to describe sizes, they're making it easier to actually think about how much you really want.

    In any case, the thing I like about Starbucks is that they hire good people and seem to keep them happy. It makes the place pleasant to visit, although I don't think their coffee is particularly good. I also like the way they try to tie each store into its neighborhood, instead of each being completely alike. My neighborhood Starbucks operates as a gallery for artists in town, hosts regular performances of local musicians, and is active in community philanthropy.
  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:05AM (#22715486) Homepage Journal
    The fast food places do the same thing, without needing a fauxtalian translation to bring about.

    That is another place that gets it so wrong. First time I looked at a menu in the states I saw "entrees", and thought to myself that the 1/2 lb steak was a bit much for a starter, though it turns out it was the main course. Speaking French, where the orginal version comes from "entrée" means starter.

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