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WiFi offload: Orange's 'number one priority'

15 февраля 2010

Orange said it is investigating how to offload data traffic onto WiFi hotspots, although the operator insisted its mobile network has the capacity to handle surging wireless Internet use.

"WiFi offload is becoming more and more of a reality and it is the number one priority for my team for 2010," Yves Maitre, senior vice president of mobile multimedia and devices at Orange said.

"We are preparing for the future - after 3G will come LTE which increases the capacity, but we realise there is a need for something in between," he told Total Telecom, without naming specific markets.

Orange isn't the only company touting WiFi's ability to plug the gap.

Service provider WiFi specialist BelAir Networks argued in late January that operators electing to roll out WiFi hotspots to augment their 3G networks will be able to call upon this vital experience when they come to deploy their LTE gear.

Meanwhile Maitre insisted that Orange's mobile network performance has not been hampered by surging data traffic.

"To date Orange's network has demonstrated it has enough capacity, data traffic on the network has grown 300% and we have not seen any congestion problems... We are not at all in the same situation as some of our competitors in other countries," he said.

Indeed, O2 UK acknowledged in January that lack of capacity in its 3G network was to blame for problems encountered by some its customers in London – most notably those using devices like the iPhone and Palm Pre.

AT&T in the U.S. has had similar problems, with some of its city-dwelling smartphone users complaining of 3G network problems. Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility, said in late 2009 that the telco plans to introduce measures that curb excessive mobile data use.

Maitre said Orange is also exploring ways of mitigating the potential pitfalls of excessive data traffic on its network, playing down the suggestion that the operator would throttle the connection speed of bandwidth hogs.

"We are considering and discussing several options, it's no secret," he said.

"But we are not in a rush and this is not something we are being forced to do," he added.

Источник: Total Telecom

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