Telecom Council meets monthly for lunch with dozens of telcos, vendors, startups and VCs. This month we review indoor infra: small cells, LBS, and public venues. Meet opportunity and startups on the move.
Silicon Valley, California, Dec 2016/Meeting Recap/ Our TC meeting in Indoor infrastructure was a panel, but with expert moderation from Jon Metzler, of Blue Field Strategies, it quickly elevated into a room-wide discussion among network operators, technology providers, and startups.
One of the interesting take-aways, I found, was the paradox of Wi-Fi, as it relates to indoor coverage. First, the entire room basically accepted a future in which most mobile phones could roam onto Wi-Fi, and integrate that into their cellular networks as a benefit of IP Multimedia Subsystems and digital migration. That said, what is the best way to cover indoor spaces:
1) Wi-Fi technology
2) Femtocell, DAS, and other cellular technology
So, in those lists lies the paradox. For carriers, Wi-Fi is cheap and fast, but represents a los off control, both in terms of the quality of the user experience, but also in customer loyalty. And while carrier-deployed indoor solutions are better on both of those counts, they are terribly expensive to install and maintain. We should expect a mix of these solutions to persist, with Wi-Fi dominating as measured by square feet or number of buildings covered.