Posted: May 8, 2013

A new business and technology intelligence community is promoting the next billion-dollar opportunity in mobile: Wi-Fi offload. The Offload Club will be bringing together all parts of the Wi-Fi and mobile ecosystems to help mobile carriers, cable companies, and technology vendors in giving data-hungry users what they want – and that’s more Wi-Fi.

The next mass-market business opportunity in wireless is Wi-Fi offload. Wi-Fi offload is poised to shake up the global telecoms landscape over the next 4-5 years, offering new ways to make money on connectivity, applications, and innovation using Wi-Fi in combination with cellular.

The Offload Club is a new, online business and technology community bringing together all parts of the telecoms industry for the single purpose of making Wi-Fi offload happen on a global scale. The Offload Club will open for business on September 1st this year.

“There are so many benefits of Wi-Fi offload that starting this community was nearly a no-brainer for me. The opportunity for carriers to create new mass-market revenue streams with higher margins on data services is obvious. This will happen, simply because Wi-Fi is so much cheaper than cellular to build. At the same time, the world is running out of capacity coming from licensed radio spectrum. We need Wi-Fi in a big way, and with Wi-Fi offload, we have found the way forward,” says Claus Hetting, CEO and Founder of The Offload Club. Claus Hetting has been working as an independent mobile technology and business strategist for more than 15 years, advising mobile carriers all over the world.

The game-changing piece of technology is for starters a small communications protocol called EAP-SIM that allows users to roam from mobile to Wi-Fi networks and back seamlessly. This exists today, and mobile carriers and MVNOs are already starting to use it. The benefits are many, because it allows any mobile service provider to offer Wi-Fi services as a part of their existing business without the users even being aware of whether they are on Wi-Fi or cellular. Other technologies include Hotspot 2.0 for Wi-Fi roaming, the new and much faster Wi-Fi standard called 802.11ac, as well as many forms of new connectivity intelligence in networks and mobile devices that are starting to emerge.

“This is a real mass-market, billion-dollar business opportunity. We expect the market for carrier-class Wi-Fi to exceed 4 billion dollars already in 2016. At the same time, mobile carriers can save billions by using much cheaper Wi-Fi technology to deliver data, and there are also big opportunities for cable companies in enabling existing home Wi-Fi access points for public use. Some cable companies are already doing this with a lot of success,” Claus Hetting says.

But Wi-Fi offload may also ne playing the balance of power in the telecoms industry into the hands of industry players in control of the strong fixed networks that are needed to carry the expected surge in Wi-Fi data traffic. Cable companies are already starting to realize their advantage. At the same time, millions of private or public Wi-Fi hotspots will gradually be interconnected to form a huge Wi-Fi service footprint, which in time will be accessed by anyone with a smartphone or a tablet. This may well disrupt the mobile carriers’ business model unless they are ready to seriously rethink their positioning on the market.

“You can view this as disruptive if you like, but I prefer to see it as an opportunity. It will only be disruptive if the companies that stand to lose most from Wi-Fi don’t realize the potential of Wi-Fi offload quickly enough. I think that the mobile carriers probably have a lot to lose in this respect. But they also have a great deal to win if they start working on Wi-Fi offload today,” Claus Hetting says.

“As mobile and wireless technologies are starting to merge, we will see more and more telcos adopt Wi-Fi as a strategic technology of choice. The first movers – be they mobile carriers, MVNOs, cable companies, or Wi-Fi service aggregators – will be the winners, because they will be offering users what they really want, and that’s more Wi-Fi,” says Claus Hetting.

But making Wi-Fi offload work both technically and commercially will require broad industry cooperation. A lot of the required technology will not be based on standards – as is the norm in the mobile industry – but on technical innovation and industry consensus. That is why it The Offload Club expects to add a great deal of value to promoting Wi-Fi offload in bringing all parts of the industry together. The Offload Club will offer all the business and technical intelligence required to develop the offload business, says Claus Hetting.

“Wi-Fi offload is also a challenging business to be in, because we need to start testing new business models and innovative technologies. The most innovative technologies are coming from startups and smaller vendors on the scene, but bigger technology leaders like Qualcomm, Ruckus Wireless, Cisco, and others are also extremely important, of course. I believe we will see lots of new innovation in this area, all leading towards exciting new ways of bringing more data and more applications out there,” says Hetting.

The Offload Club will be open for business at www.theoffloadclub.com on September 1st, 2013. The Offload Club will offer a membership-based intelligence and community service as well as plenty of free Wi-Fi offload content. Monthly and bi-monthly OffloadClubTV virtual conferencing broadcasts will focus on business and technology themes.

To keep up to date on industry-wide news, information, and analysis join the group “Seamless Wi-Fi Offload” on LinkedIn today!

For more information contact:

Claus Hetting, Founder & CEO

The Offload Club

Web: www.theoffloadclub.com

Email: claus@theoffloadclub.com

Ph.: +45 25 34 17 05

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