When Ericsson’s Johan Bergendahl claimed that "hotspots at places like Starbucks are becoming the telephone boxes of the broadband era", he certainly raised some eyebrows. So we thought we’d ask hotspot provider The Cloud for its thoughts.
"It's not a question of mobile broadband making Wi-Fi hot spots redundant. Wi-Fi and cellular are complimentary technologies that sit side by side,” counters Owen Geddes of The Cloud.
“However out of the two, only Wi-Fi is capable of truly replicating the broadband experience. It takes minutes to download a music track and hours to download a video over cellular, whereas over Wi-Fi it takes seconds and minutes - Wi-Fi is broadband.”
Bergendahl said in a keynote speech in Stockholm that mobile broadband will become so prevalent that it will make hotspots worthless.
Cellular's cost problem
However, Geddes criticised cellular for its cost and coverage. “In reality cellular is costly, coverage is patchy and it often isn't available in places the consumer wants.”
“WiFi coverage is very predictable as users know where they can get it and it will continue to be rapidly rolled out in locations where customers need it, such as McDonalds or outdoor networks like City of London,” continued Geddes.
“Cellular does not signal the demise of WiFi.”