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Ericsson: Wi-Fi hotspots already set for slow death

updated 12:15 pm EDT, Mon March 10, 2008

Ericsson on Wi-Fi hotspots

The end for Wi-Fi hotspots may already be in sight, claims the chief marketing officer of telecom multinational Ericsson. Speaking today at the European Computer Audit, Control and Security Conference in Stockholm, Sweden, Johan Bergendahl commented that at least in Europe, cellular broadband is growing so rapidly that it is surpassing any rate ever achieved by either mobile or fixed voice networks. "In Austria," says Bergendahl, "they are saying that mobile broadband will pass fixed broadband this year."

"It's already growing faster," he adds, "and in Sweden, the most popular phone is a USB modem." More importantly, the cost of a cellular broadband subscription is on average 20 ($31) per month, and 3G-level HSPA receivers are being built into notebooks. For these and desktop systems, users can also choose to use tethering or external modems.

As a consequence, people who do not need bandwidth for gaming or high-speed downloads can choose cellular broadband as a replacement for landline Internet connections. "Hotspots at places like Starbucks are becoming the telephone boxes of the broadband era," Bergendahl argues. "In a few years, it [HSPA] will be as common as Wi-Fi is today."

Several problems are blocking cellular broadband from general adoption, notes InfoWorld. It is not available in some portions of Europe, and it is even less commonly available in otherwise rich countries such as Canada and the United States. Data roaming is also extremely expensive, a fact that may be deterring businessmen from cellular given the need for travel.

Bergendahl also worries that hotels may be actively trying to halt cellular signals in their buildings. "They see data access as a business opportunity."

by MacNN Staff



  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not in the US

    Rates in the US are pretty high for cell-access ($50+more on top of your cell bill). And 3G networks are sparse at best. We won't see the kind of adoption that's being talked abot here for a while.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Who would guess the head of a cell-phone company is touting how the cell-phone-data business is going to rule the world. Amazing.

    And I would think things like large downloads and real-time connections are also issues at hand. And, hey, why spend $30 a month when you can go to starbucks and use it for free....

  1. cmoney

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Nuh uh

    Not if Apple and the iPhone have anything to do with it!!


  1. docsharp76

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Ericsson: Wi-Fi

    Great article with lots of useful information and excellent commentary! Thanks for sharing.

  1. docsharp76

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hot Spots?

    I don't see wi-fi taking "hold by storm" in the US. Maybe in other industralized nations such as Japan.

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