Devicescape to sign UK mobile network before MWC

Date: December 11, 2013

The US-based public WiFi curator says it’s finally poised, pen in hand, to sign up one of the UK mobile operators to its service. And no, LTE arrival won’t stall WiFi. By I.D. Scales.

You remember Devicescape. It looks after a constantly updated database, somewhere in the cloud, and users of the telco-provided smartphones, tablets or even computers, get some client software which uses the cloud to steer them to the best available public or amenityh WiFi wherever they happen to be. It also finesses connection to their home WiFi for good measure.

The client software logs users on to amenity WiFi when it’s of the required standard and its user gets free WiFi without having to log on every time (always the bugbear mentioned by any device user or WiFi refusnik) while the amenity WiFi providers get more users which, after all, is the point of providing the amenity.

Most important, the client reports back stats to the cloud which refines the accuracy of the database while the participating telcos get lots of wonderful information back about usage and whether the user is using cell, private WiFi, carrier WiFi or amenity WiFi.

Devicescape has been pushing away at the content.  It has some signings in the US, including Cricket.  It thinks that its signing of a big operator in Europe will reassure the others and open the floodgates once the concept is proved here. We shall see.

According to  Devicescape CEO, Dave Fraser, it takes a while for a telco to really ‘get’ the concept at all levels and be comfortable with it.

The ideal scenario is to ink a deal with a telco which involves pre-loading the client on all users’ smartphones as this gives full coverage from the off and establishes good numbers for the second consitituency on this two-sided model – the amenity WiFi providers to whose WiFi the users are going to be steered.

Without telcos signed up, Devicescape has made the client (or a version of it) available for users to use off the Andoid Playstore.  This starts to give some stats and some proof-points for Devicescape to flash about, while providing a rudimentary service on hotspot capabilities for users.

One change that happens pretty fast is that amenity WiFif use, which typically hovers way down at around the 1 per cent mark (home, business and telco-provided take the lion’s share) tends to increase with the arrival of the curating client – up to 15 or even 20 per cent of total WiFi used.

LTE doesn’t nudge WiFif out, according to Dave, they seem to work together. 

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