Bandwidth Market, a cloud-based service that enables mobile network operators to gain extra Wi-Fi capacity as needed from third-party networks, is being rolled out by Carlsbad, Calif.-based BandwidthX.
The company contends that an inability to set a single price has kept mobile carriers from forging agreements with major Internet service providers or Wi-Fi hotspot aggregation hubs. The company pledges to change that through its service, which connects buyers and sellers of Wi-Fi capacity and enables prices and policies for both to be changed in real-time.
Carriers and MVNOs can add Wi-Fi capacity at specific times and locations by naming their price at Bandwidth Market and automatically and seamlessly connect their selected mobile devices to Wi-Fi from service providers that have chosen to sell their capacity, said BandwidthX.
"Mobile carriers can realize immediate savings through agile and flexible trading in Bandwidth Market and at the same time anyone providing broadband or Wi-Fi service can create new revenue streams by putting their capacity to work," said Pertti Visuri, CEO of BandwidthX.
Visuri is the former CEO of Airgain, a provider of embedded antenna systems to Wi-Fi gateways.
The BandwidthX service requires no changes to Wi-Fi access points or mobile networks, though a Bandwidth Market application must be added to end users' mobile devices to participate in the trading. The app records the amount of data offloaded to Wi-Fi in each session, with the clearing price for each transaction already having been set in the Bandwidth Market.
The company claims it can work with a carriers' current clearinghouse to handle accounting and settlements.
In addition, Bandwidth X promises to ensure QoS is maintained at a minimum level specified by the mobile carriers and the ISPs. "Real time tests of Wi-Fi speeds make sure we meet MNO and ISP-defined criteria," said the company, noting that Wi-Fi signal strengths are constantly monitored, and Wi-Fi connections are only established and maintained when signals are strong.
Though BandwidthX is officially launching the service during the Wi-Fi Global Congress in London next week, the company said its Bandwidth Market is already in operation and has been tested with terabytes of transferred data and millions of signal quality measurements in several countries.
Juniper Research recently predicted that only 40 percent of mobile data traffic generated by mobile handsets and tablets will go over cellular networks by 2017, as Wi-Fi networks are expected to handle the majority of traffic.
However, some mobile operators are reducing their need to offload traffic onto separate Wi-Fi networks by building out their own Wi-Fi footprints. For example, AT&T (NYSE:T) already operates its own extensive public Wi-Fi service and is focusing on integrating Wi-Fi capabilities into its small cells, which will number 40,000 in the next few years.
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