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Wi-Fi in today’s World: An approach from customer experience perspective to Operator Wi-Fi

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Dec, 2015


In today’s world, Wi-Fi is the unprecedented king of local connectivity and given this is one of the most generic statements of the century, operators, advertisers, content owners and enterprises  are lining up to leverage on this at multiple levels with innovative offerings to their customers and prospective customers. This is a welcoming move particularly from the user fraternity. This is the smart positioning of the Wi-Fi service in the public arenas and public places. Companies were smart to package the Wi-Fi services with their core offering or allow users to access internet for free and monetizing the service through advertising. To make things interesting, they have leveraged on the fact that capturing the location is possible through the location of the router. This allowed advertisers to push ads relevant to the users and their locations. Any advertisers will tell you that any advertising mode in the above mentioned scenario allows better quality and relevant ads at lesser cost making such modes premium real estate. Additionally, public spots like football arenas, basketball arena and other large places where there is a large gathering of people to witness an event or participate in an event are opportunities for operators to leverage upon Wi-Fi to enhance the user experience of their customers. Operators (or the venue owners) can allow users to experience / witness the game altogether in a new way. They can push interesting content on the Wi-Fi about the match, the players, other videos, replays of goals, etc. This is an immense possibility for the arena owners to generate revenue with a onetime investment on the infrastructure for the Wi-Fi setup.

The possibilities are great with Wi-Fi and will keep increasing as Wi-Fi being one of the oldest technologies in the market is also the one of the most sought after technology. Support systems with increasing capabilities and other relevant features allowed the operators to launch innovative services and enhancing the revenue possibilities for them. However, not all systems are same. A support system should be built with a vision for the future. Among the most evolved part of the business, monetizing the services is the primary area a development. Wi-Fi SMP and other authentication systems should be able to handle the evolved business process. Wi-Fi SMP, which is a combination of the billing, AAA and a charging mechanism, allows successful monetization of varied services irrespective of the business use cases. A typical Wi-Fi SMP has a lifecycle anywhere between 5 – 7 years. Hence it is important for the services providers to typically choose a system that can address the business challenges for the next 5 years.

I this two part blog post we will be talking about various current business use cases, future use cases and some features to make the SMP relevant for the next 5 years. In the first part, we will be primarily focusing on operator related use cases that predominantly talks about various benefits of deploying Wi-Fi, challenges of the same and necessary solution to support the same.

Mobile Off-load:

This is one application of the Wi-Fi that everybody is talking about everywhere. In fact, we have written many blogs and many articles on the same topics ourselves and all this emphasis is still less compared to the business potential this model has. Offloading the spectrum congestion onto the available Wi-Fi network allows operators to free up their valuable spectrum. Hence it is very safe to say that the demand for this model is proportional to the price of the spectrum, which is always rising in the current communication market. In an ideal situation, once a user who is accessing the internet over the mobile data enters the Wi-Fi zone which belongs to the operator (or his partner), the user is offloaded onto the Wi-Fi network. Partners play an important in this model as the operators cannot have Wi-Fi Hotspots deployed at all possible locations. Hence, the operator ties up with the local operator who owns the Wi-Fi Hotspots. Once the customer enters the Wi-Fi network, he should be identified by the partner as a customer of the operator and an authentication must be done at the operator level to allow the user to access internet. This workflow can be handled in multiple ways where the AAA is placed in the partner location or the existing AAA can be configured to address this requirement.

In this business model, partner management, roaming and real time charging or online charging system (OCS) are the most important role. When a user is on offloaded on the partner network necessary communication must be established with the operator’s authentication server, authorization for the service should be given, necessary policy should be pushed and the usage should be accounted for. In a well-executed scenario, Wi-Fi Offload should be able take a considerable load off the spectrum on to the Wi-Fi network leading to a huge saving and better customer service as Wi-Fi load is a very effective model in urban areas and high density population areas which happen to be a high revenue areas. In the case of rest of the users who are not on Wi-Fi will be able to have a better experience due to the availability of spectrum.

By : Ramakrishna Mashetty

Ramakrishna Mashetty is The Chief Marketing officer of SURE! (a Magnaquest product).SURE! is an internationally acclaimed player in comprehensive end-to-end Subscription Business Solutions for PayTV, Broadband and Cloud Computing businesses – through deployment of Metered Billing, CRM, Service Fulfillment, Value-Added Services, and Managed Services.

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