“Wireless Internet access” is much more than “mobile access,” it is fair enough to note. Fixed wireless, satellite access and untethered access (Wi-Fi) are widely-used forms of Internet access beyond that used by mobile devices, connected to the mobile network.
It might also be fair to say that untethered access–which has been seen as a competitor to mobile access–might actually be emerging in precisely that way. “Cable operators, Internet giants, Wi-Fi-first startups and every cafe with a wireless router are all providers of wireless service,” Devicescape argues.
So a “wave of disruption” is coming, Devicescape argues.
Though it is reasonable to point out that Devicescape builds a business on the strength of Wi-Fi, especially the ability to create unified services out of a patchwork quilt of independent Wi-Fi hotspots, the notion that mobile service providers “must” or “should” incorporate Wi-Fi access into the overall fabric of connectivity choices is reasonable enough.
That, in fact, is assumed to be a key feature of future fifth generation mobile networks, and for simple reasons. Generally speaking, mobile network connectivity is best outdoors, less effective indoors, while Wi-Fi arguably operates best indoors, least effectively outdoors.
So mobile service providers must become “connectivity providers” using any available network resource, not “mobile access” providers, one might argue.
In part because as much as 70 percent of smartphone data is accessed using a Wi-Fi connection, mobile service providers must embrace connectivity by any available means, Devicescape argues.
Devicescape calls that shift a move from “mobile” to “connectivity,” as users do not so much care about whether their access is provided by the mobile or the Wi-Fi networks. They only want to remain connected, at the best price, one might well argue.
That noted, Devicescape argues that 29 percent of mobile users never connect to their home Wi-Fi, while 53 percent keep Wi-Fi turned off when out and about. As a result, as much as 91 percent of public hotspot locations go unused.
Mobidia, for its part, illustrates the role played by Wi-Fi and mobile activity in 2014.