We must admit, at first we were somewhat surprised when cable operators some years ago started to approach us wanting to deploy carrier-class Wi-Fi services. After our first couple of cable operator customers – often referred to as multi-system operators or MSOs – we started to understand that they have many good reasons for doing so.
Subscribers want to be able to reach and use the same content that they get at home from their mobile devices on the run. It’s not enough anymore to follow their favorite Sitcom from home. They expect to be able to see it in HD from where ever they are and then make immediate comments about it in social-medias such as Facebook.
Avoid churn to 4G
Media have moved from prime-time to my-time where consumers increasingly are in control over their media consumption. They can decide what TV program to watch as well as when and where they want to see it.
It is already possible to view streaming video in 3G mobile networks; in 4G networks it will be the norm. Cable operators many times have a competitive advantage over most mobile operators with well-developed media content. However, if you do not go wireless you will risk losing a certain customer category to the 4G operators. The customers that prioritize mobility over content.
Compete with the coverage of a 4G operator
By applying a user-targeted rather than a “blanket the whole city” approach. Deploy Wi-Fi in areas of high user concentration such as city centers, shopping malls, stadiums, university campuses and train stations. For even better coverage, add each subscriber’s Wi-Fi-enabled CPE as part of this network on a separate SSID. By doing so you will reduce churn even for subscribers that also need a 3G/4G subscription. The nature of smartphones and tablets to always prioritize Wi-Fi over 3G/4G will work in your favor.
Monetize your assets
Cable operators often have a high-capacity backbone that is spread throughout dense locations in a city area. By installing Wi-Fi-enabled Set-top boxes, the cable operator can rapidly deploy a very attractive carrier-class Wi-Fi network by adding a public SSID and increase the value of these assets. Offering Wi-Fi services in this public network will increase your value in the eyes of your subscribers and reduce churn. You will also become a very attractive partner for wholesale of these services.
People spend the majority of their time either at home or work. This makes you a very attractive 3G/4G data offloading partner for your subscribers’ mobile operators, if you have Wi-Fi coverage at these locations. With an automatic login process through SIM authentication, this value will further increase both for your subscribers and their mobile operators.
There is often excess capacity in your customers Internet connections, especially during daytime when residential subscribers are at work or at night when enterprise subscribers are away from the office. Some cable operators have taken advantage of this by dividing the Set-top box into two separate parts (SSIDs): one for the subscriber and one for public use. By doing so they can deploy – virtually overnight — a carrier-class hotspot service with excellent capacity and coverage. They can also gain additional revenue from ad-hoc users and by offering offload capacity to mobile operators.
If you are an MVNO – Bingo!
Many cable operators have expanded their business by offering mobile services running on a mobile operator’s network. They have become a so-called mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). Since usage of mobile broadband is constantly going up, it makes a lot of sense for these cable operators to deploy Wi-Fi services in their own network. By providing Wi-Fi offload for their own subscribers, the costly fees for data traffic in the mobile operator’s network can be reduced, resulting in a very quick return on investment (ROI).
Cable operators can leverage the combination of their often strong relationships with the media industry and a Wi-Fi-enabled subscriber base by offering location-based targeted advertising.
Aptilo knows carrier-class Wi-Fi
With 90+ carrier Wi-Fi deployments, we have learned a great deal about deploying large-scale Wi-Fi hotspot services. Learn more about the Aptilo Service Management Platform, a complete system for operating Wi-Fi services. We do also support specific features to cover the needs identified above such as:
- Built-in Web portals with a multitude of online payment options for ad-hoc users.
- Wholesale support, making it easy to sell your service to venue owners and smaller service providers.
- Our Policy PCRF+ core which can prioritize bandwidth for your subscribers when using their CPE partly as a public hotspot. This can also be done with different policies at different times.
- We have the ability to retrieve location information per user as in data for location-based advertising.
- Our hierarchical account structure supports family accounts which convert customers (households) to individuals (individual family members).
- The Aptilo SIM Authentication Server which enables automatic login of users for mobile data offloading.