Wi-Fi hotspots are "telephone boxes of the broadband era" claims Ericsson exec

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mobile_broadband_devices.pngMobile broadband offerings are growing at such a rapid pace, and becoming affordable enough to make Wi-Fi hotspots irrelevant, according to Ericsson’s Chief Marketing Officer, Johan Bergendahl.

“Hotspots at places like Starbucks are becoming the telephone boxes of the broadband era,” he claimed at a recent conference in Stockholm.

Quite a different viewpoint from the likes of Apple, then, whose latest offerings — the iPhone and MacBook Air — rely heavily on the availability of Wi-Fi to perform at their best.

That’s not to say that home Wi-Fi networks, which distribute consumer broadband, are going away any time soon. However, when on the move, mobile broadband is becoming a much more attractive proposition that searching around for a Wi-Fi hotspot. Then again, Bergendahl claimed that, “in Austria they are saying that mobile broadband will
pass fixed broadband this year. It’s already growing faster, and in Sweden, the most popular phone is a USB modem.”

The main drivers for future growth of mobile broadband will be cheaper tariffs, and the tendency of notebook PC manufacturers to build in HSPA hardware as standard.

He added a note of caution about roaming. “Carriers need to work together. It can be as simple as paying 10 euros per day when you are abroad.” Additionally, just as with Wi-Fi, coverage for mobile broadband isn’t yet ubiquitous.

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Andy Merrett