I have been a strong proponent of carriers rolling out WiFi networks as they provide another sticky service which customers are loathe to give up. Cablevision's Optimum WiFi which is a free WiFi service rolled out in much of the cable company's footprint is an example of a service which has been proven to reduce churn and is currently running at over one million minutes per day of usage.
AT&T's acquisition of Wayport and Verizon's partnership with Boingo show the carrier of the future needs to blend WiFi into their offerings. It should come as no surprise that wireless carriers are looking to WiFi networks running on unlicensed spectrum as they are being hammered by smartphones and iPod Touch devices.
The company providing the equipment which powers Cablevision's offerings is BelAir Networks and they have a product called the 100S which the cable company strings every 800 feet on their poles. They are plug-and-play devices that light up vast areas quickly. More recently they rolled out a 100SX device which also provides WiMAX.
An important point made during our conversation is how carriers are WiFi-enabling sporting and concert arenas to offset the network congestion becoming so rampant in areas where people gather.
I just had a conversation with Martin Suter the VP, Business Development at BelAir Networks about some of the exciting things happening in the space and some of the best points are captured in the video below.