The Future of Subscriber Access – Part 1

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How will you connect to the Internet in the future? I have no doubt it will be through mobile means. We, as consumers, want to be connected at all times with our mobile devices. (I'm in fact writing this on my iPhone.) With so many competing technologies like LTE-U, 802.11ac (Wi-Fi), LTE, 5G, and enabling services like Hotspot 2.0, it is not a sure thing in any direction. Each technology has its pros and cons. 

However, I don't believe that the technology will have anything to do with adoption. I believe it will always be a mix of Wifi and Macro technology but macro connectivity will be driven by the business model of the major cell carriers. If these licensed carriers launch unlimited data models – which many are – then the drive for wifi offload becomes less important to the actual consumer. 

This does become an advantage to the licensed carrier. With hotspot 2.0 they can have the mobile devices automatically connect to WiFi offload networks they have created themselves or partnered with others to create. The general consumer won't have anything to do with the offload piece, its not a decision they will make. Their mobile device / carrier will. 

This will put those offering a competitive WiFi offload network at a disadvantage as the consumer will have to manually connect to the wifi networks. 

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