Feeds

Singapore abandons Wi-Fi for 3G

Bubble bursts

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The Register's Wireless LAN Channel

The smart money doesn't have the Wi-Fi bubble bursting until next year, but early indicators from Asia suggest we could be hearing an ear-bursting "Pop!" sooner than anyone had expected.

Why? Well, when the world looks to wireless, it looks to Asia. And the news this week isn't good for Wi-Fi utopians who dream of the technology supplanting international cellular standards used by billions of people.

Singapore operator MobileOne invested heavily in 802.11 last year, but this week it announced that it had abandoned its Wi-Fi experiment and decided to put its money behind 3G instead.

Neil Montefiore, MobileOne's CEO, cited a couple of reasons. First, laptop and PDA users account for "only three or four per cent" of the market. Everyone else has phones. Second, and this bolsters the 'Rabbit' theory, people want blanket coverage.

'Rabbit' was a pre-GSM Hutchison gambit that required the caller to stand within a few yards of a Rabbit "hotspot". It didn't take off because people, quite reasonably, refused to make the trade-off. People actually don't want to think about such steps. They just want stuff that works, and they don't want to thinks where they need to be before making a call. Ubiquity, and blanket coverage, were the great drivers of 2G cellphone adoption.

The number of PDA or PowerBook-toting Wi-Fi users has proved to be embarrassingly small. "By definition, road warriors are not a captive market," we pointed out only yesterday.

"M1 says its customers did not like the Wi-Fi service because it is not really mobile since users must stay within a coverage area 50-100 metres of the hotspot," we learn. MobileOne will instead invest $150 million on 3G next year.

Beset as it is by technical problems, and suffering from dot.com-sized expectations, 3G has a compelling reason to roll into the market because it gives the operators fourfold efficiencies over the 2G digital networks. They can close off the old transmitters, and save themselves a lot of money. In the UK, the 3 network is branding itself by offering the cheapest calls of all.

No blog, or Pringle Can, can counter the harsh economics: public Wi-Fi doesn't pay. ®

Related Stories

AT&T pitches public WiFi at Big Biz
Wi-Fi hotspots mean some burnt fingers
Operators falling short of ambitious Wi-Fi roll-out plans
Public Wi-Fi has look and feel of a dead duck

The Register's Wireless LAN Channel

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey
This Herod network's ace – but crap reception in bullrushes
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
New EU digi-commish struggles with concepts of net neutrality
Oettinger all about the infrastructure – but not big on substance
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.