It seems that years of change are coming in the business models of cell phone operators, because as things are going little by little they are ceasing to be cell phone operators to be Internet operators. Recent studies on the use of the internet on Smartphones have found that up to 80% of transfers are made through WiFi networks. The reasons are varied, such as the high costs of data plans, the availability of free WiFI areas or the lack of good cellular coverage in some areas.
FreeWheel the WiFi-only cellular service
“Today what matters is data, and WiFi is preferred and clearly superior to cellular networks” Said Cablevision CEO Kristin Dolan.
Reasons to think about the superiority of WiFi networks over cellular networks does not seem to be lacking for the cable television operator Cablevision, who this week announced their imminent foray into the world of mobile operators with a curious business model called FreeWheel based solely on its WiFi networks to offer users calls and internet on their cell phones at very low prices without using traditional cell phone networks at all.
FreeWhel would initially work only with a modified model of the Motorola Moto G, which would work only over WiFi networks. Cablevision’s 1.1 million WiFi access points would provide good initial coverage to residents of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. The Moto G that will be used for this service could not connect to cellular networks so it would not have service when it is outside the coverage area.
Despite the limitations of being restricted to a small WiFi coverage (for the moment), FreeWhel managers want to motivate users to enter this service and make it grow, offering plans without a contract and at very low and competitive prices. For example, the unlimited talk and text plan would cost $ 30 per month, and unlimited broadband browsing would cost $ 10 per month. For its part, the Moto G that would work exclusively for FreeWhel would have a reduced value of $ 100.
The Cablevision initiative may seem very risky, and it already has some opponents who predict it will not have much impact. But it definitely shows the beginning of a trend in which, although FreeWhel is going to be the pioneer, it is not the only one; Well, recently we heard of Google’s plans to also venture into a business model as a cellular operator, based in a hybrid way on WiFi networks and existing cellular networks.
What do you think of FreeWhel? Do you prefer WiFi networks to cellular networks?