Fair Play for Android

WiFi access should be easy for all, says Lars Esshagen Director Product Management at BirdStep.

For a long time operators have argued that selling the iPhone is expensive, with less margin and fewer hardware guarantees than Android phones. Moreover, some are also frustrated that they do not have any influence over the content, apps and branding on the iPhone.

For Japanese giant NTTDoCoMo it was enough to stop them selling iPhones altogether as they “want to create a lifestyle system” and have control over the entire user experience. DoCoMo’s resistance contrasts with holdouts in other markets that are giving in this year to the demand for iPhones.

T-Mobile US Inc’s CEO said its April release of the iPhone filled a “huge void” in its line-up and China Mobile Ltd, the world’s largest mobile carrier by number of subscribers, is moving to upgrade its service with 4G technology to allow the 10 million of its customers who already own the iPhone to connect to its network.

However, despite its market strength and dominance, Apple has gone further to upset many operators by reducing demand for ARPU-generating SMS and MMS services, with the introduction of the popular iMessage app that apple users can use for free across any IP network.

Winning Hearts And Minds With Wifi Freedom

It is somewhat ironic, therefore, that Apple provides such a good Wifi service to iPhone users, making sure that iPhones give priority to operator Wifi networks and automatically logging users in. More profitable (for operators) and arguably more loyal Android users do not enjoy the same privilege.

Operators can, however, offer their Android users the same WiFi freedom and benefits with the WIQ app created by Birdstep. With WIQ user can connect to any Wifi network and get more speed, data and value out of their subscription. Not only does this app mimic the automatic nature of the iPhone but it also serves older phones with the same functionality, extending value for users and the operator alike.

Telia: Providing That “Little Extra”

Telia in Sweden provides most users with free Wifi with Telia Homerun as part of their subscription. The Wifi data offered by Telia is not limited in speed or volume and can provide users with that “little extra” – especially in cities where many users on the cell network in the same place could make the network suggested. However, many users are not aware of this and even those who are find it difficult to access from their Android phones.

WIQ , however, changes all that. Any Telia user can now log into Google Play and download WIQ and even if not on the Telia network, users can immediately and effortlessly enjoy smart Wifi and save their batteries wherever they are.

While it’s a challenge to treat all smartphone users alike, across so many different device types, it is definitely time for operators to give back to the Android community with the Wifi freedom they deserve.

For operators, WiQ offers multiple advantages.

More about WIQ
WiQ is a Birdstep consumer app for heterogeneous networks that combines Wi-Fi and 4G/LTE. The app also uses Birdsteps EasyAnalytics, which enables wireless operators to measure the effectiveness of different policies and so tune them to further improve overall network performance or cut costs.

Currently WiQ is specifically targeting Telia users by managing, provisioning and logging into Telia’s WiFi network “Homerun” automatically on new as well as older Android devices. Should any login credentials be needed these can be fetched silently in the background. The app keeps track of available networks in an intelligent way and will switch WiFi on and off based on the known networks – this also saves battery as power is draining when WiFi is switched on but not connected, contrary to when it is connected and uses less power.

Any user can benefit from the power management and automatic radio management in WiQ, not just Telia subscribers. The app will recognise networks added by the user and switch these on and off without the user having to remember or going in and flipping a lot of settings.

From the Telia subscriber’s perspective, WIQ offers:
Hassle free (and ‘knowledge free’) login and access to Telia’s Homerun WiFi network.
Settings provisioned for SIM login on newer devices
Settings provisioned for older devices that are logged in with username and password
Access to more data before the quota of the subscription is reached.
Access to non-bandwidth throttled networks

For non-Telia suscribers, WIQ offers:
A good and easily readable meter to display the amount of data saved by using WiFi
Efficient battery usage by using the most efficient network available at all times by automated and intelligent on/off functionality
No need to know or remember complex settings and locations with WiFi coverage. WiQ remembers this and will automatically attach the user to the best available network.
A better, more seamless, user experience when roaming across networks

For operators, WiQ offers multiple advantages:
The ability to progress from offering a Quality of Service to a true Quality of Experience
A better understanding of actual data use, including across networks not under their control
Identification of network bottlenecks at a very fine level of granularity
The ability to segment customer bases to better target subscribers for whom intelligent data access in mobility is most important