China Telecom develops Wi-Fi as its fourth network
Updated:2016/3/25 China Telecom officially released "Love Wi-Fi" products in China last year, which becomes a hot topic of operator constructing Wi-Fi. Recently, C114 hears that in May 2016 China Telecom will upgrade Love Wi-Fi platform and expand the capacity to make it support 5 million APs and 100 million registered users. China Telecom says it will spare no efforts to build Wi-Fi into its "fourth network".
In fact, many in China's telecom industry are skeptical about operator developing Wi-Fi. People wonder if operators need Wi-Fi despite the existence of 4G, and if the carrier-class Wi-Fi can make profit.
Positioning of Wi-Fi is value operation and being different from 4G
Three reasons why China Telecom vigorously develops Wi-Fi in the 4G era are as followed.
First, compared with the other two major operators in China, China Telecom has the greatest fixed network resources, which is the biggest advantage for developing Wi-Fi. As the natural extension of broadband and the main network for the mobile Internet applications, Wi-Fi has become the general demand to the Internet users in China. With effective combination of world's largest optical network, Asia's largest cloud data center group, gigabit-level exclusive broadband capability and the latest WiFi technology, China Telecom launches Love Wi-Fi.
Second, China Telecom hopes to vitalize the Wi-Fi resources it has, which helps it grasp the new mobile Internet access. China Telecom has got over 1 million APs till now, covering 31 provinces in China and realizing roaming in 35 countries and areas.
What's more, China Telecom hopes to achieve value operation through Love Wi-Fi, an innovative development pattern. China Telecom expresses that the Wi-Fi business positioning has changed from fixed network extension and cellular data offload into value operation. China Telecom has also changed from taking forward operation as the main into backward operation, and from provincial dispersed operation into intensive operation. China Telecom will actively seek market and cooperation for Love Wi-Fi and strives to develop Wi-Fi into its fourth network.
Compared with 4G, Love Wi-Fi is deployed in the areas with higher Wi-Fi value where Wi-Fi has been covered or customers have the plan to build Wi-Fi. Besides, China Telecom just integrates the resources and provides safe Wi-Fi access services, so Love Wi-Fi won't compete with 4G services.
Love Wi-Fi will be upgraded in May, supporting 100 million registered users
Up till now, China Telecom has accessed over 120 thousand Wi-Fi hot spots and over 1 million APs nationwide to the national unified operating platform of Love Wi-Fi to conduct backward operation of the Wi-Fi business. It's worth mentioning that Love Wi-Fi will be upgraded and support 5 million APs and 100 million registered users in May 2016.
Different network construction model and profit model
For a long time, the biggest problem for operators developing Wi-Fi is how to balance cost and profit.
Most operators used to build the network by Central Purchasing and include the Wi-Fi charges in the package through forward charging before. But in fact, the effect is not ideal, which is the reason why many operators give up developing Wi-Fi finally. China Telecom takes a new network construction model and a new profit model for Love Wi-Fi.
In the aspect of network construction, China Telecom chooses crowdfunding with small and medium businesses, government and enterprise customers and other commercial Wi-Fi providers.
In the aspect of profit model, Love Wi-Fi starts with the point of resolving access problems for subscribers and conducts specialized operation. There are three main profit models: first, obtain revenue of system integration and value-added services through Wi-Fi integration projects of government and enterprise customers; second, retain and boost broadband revenues through differentiated services aiming at Wi-Fi users; third, achieve the value of Wi-Fi access and create more possibilities of backward operation; forth, advertising revenue - Love Wi-Fi services take client, portals of the businesses and Portal as the carriers and it has the Internet property of content delivery and holds the value of operator's basic services.
The launching of Love Wi-Fi is consistent with the trend of "Internet +", which achieves geater innovation in network construction model and profit model. Love Wi-Fi may create a new path of developing Wi-Fi for the operators.