Skip to main content

Ericsson Predicts Wi-Fi’s Days are Numbered

Ericsson Predicts Wi-Fi

Speaking at the European Computer Audit, Control and Security Conference in Stockholm, Ericsson‘s chief marketing officer Johan Bergendahl predicted the days of Wi-Fi hotspots are numbered as mobile broadband technologies become consumers’ preferred method for accessing information and the Internet. Bergendahl noted mobile broadband is growing faster in Europe than cell phones or traditional phone service ever did, and likened the current proliferation of Wi-Fi hotspots to phone booths—things that used to be ubiquitous on every corner, but are a rare sight nowadays.

Bergendahl’s argument is essentially that as more people rely on mobile broadband services, Wi-Fi hotspots at places like Starbucks and McDonalds will no longer be necessary: users will be able to tap into whatever data and Internet services they need using 3G and 4G technology without having to rely on fixed-location Wi-Fi services.

Bergendahl’s assertion is has drawn considerable criticism from both the wireless and mobile industries. Some argue that while mobile broadband rollouts are underway in Europe, Asia, and the Americas, usage hasn’t grown fast enough for carriers to implement the substantial amounts of bandwidth that would be required if vast swaths of the population were to start relying on mobile broadband for more intensive uses. Similarly, coverage areas for mobile broadband services remain spotty even in highly developed areas: the room in Stockholm where Bergendahl spoke, for instance, had no 3G coverage—although Bergendahl confessed he believes hotels sometimes block access in order to get customers to purchase in-house broadband solutions.

LIkewise, costs for mobile broadband services still put them well beyond the reach of typical consumers. And even in Europe, where mobile broadband prices have dropped considerably, international roaming fees can be outrageous: users may have relatively cheap mobile broadband close to home, but an hour away, they may be paying through the nose.

Mobile industry watchers have also pointed out that mobile network operators are not particularly inclined to incur the costs of upgrading their entire operations to handle large numbers of broadband users, whereas adding Wi-Fi broadband capabilities to devices enables providers to make inexpensive, reliable broadband available at locations (coffee shops, book stores, airports, etc.) where users are most likely to need and/or consume considerable amounts of bandwidth on their mobile devices. Users don’t generally need large amounts of bandwidth while driving or traveling, but are more likely to tap into networks at their regular haunts or once they reach their destinations.

In the meantime, the humble author will note, if he leans just a little to his left, he can still see not one, not two, but three public pay phones from the vantage point of his keyboard.

Editors' Recommendations

Geoff Duncan
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Geoff Duncan writes, programs, edits, plays music, and delights in making software misbehave. He's probably the only member…
Forget Wi-Fi. Florida hotel adds private 5G to its list of amenities
Marquee sign for The Gale South Beach Hotel.

Private 5G networks are dramatically changing the way many industries operate, and now 5G is also transforming the hospitality industry. A Florida hotel has just become one of the first in the U.S. to deploy private 5G technology to deliver high-speed wireless access to its guests and unify all of its amenities.

Working in collaboration with private wealth management advisory firm GFO Investments and AirSpan Networks, the Gale South Beach is rolling out a private 5G network solution that it hopes will serve as a model for the rest of the hospitality industry.

Read more
5G vs. Wi-Fi: How they’re different and why you’ll need both
ASRock X10 IoT Router

We've entered the era of 5G, and while it hasn't necessarily brought about the mobile revolution some expected, it could well do so in the next few years. The current 5G is better than 4G, but only delivers minimal improvements to download speeds -- unless you live in a major city like NYC. However, eventually, it should dramatically improve download speeds, nearly eliminate latency, and reduce congestion on mobile networks.

In other words, 5G is going to give your Wi-Fi connection a run for its money.

Read more
Qualcomm’s FastConnect 7800 is the world’s first Wi-Fi 7 product
Qualcomm logo at an event.

At MWC 2022, Qualcomm has revealed the FastConnect 7800 chipset, which it says is “the world’s first Wi-Fi 7 product.”

FastConnect 7800 is a 14nm chip that supports Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.3, promising high-speed, low latency network connectivity, and wireless audio enhancements altogether. Among the supported 5GHz, 6GHz, and 2.4GhHz spectrums, Wi-Fi 7 utilizes the first two, whereas the lattermost is reserved for Bluetooth and lower-bandwidth Wi-Fi.

Read more