Yesterday PC Pro quoted Ericsson’s chief marketing officer Johan Bergendahl stating that WiFi is dead and it will be replaced by mobile broadband. What a surprising statement from a company selling HSDPA solutions to mobile operators all over the world!

“Hotspots at places like Starbucks are becoming the telephone boxes of the broadband era” Bergendahl claimed.
He then added how an issue like roaming charges (meaning you get ripped off as soon as you cross your country’s borders) might get easily solved: “Carriers need to work together. It can be as simple as paying 10 euros (US$15) per day when you are abroad”. As simple as that.

Now let’s compare this with FON and WiFi. If you are a Fonero you share your broadband connection at home and can use any FONspot in the world for free. If you don’t share your connection you can connect for free for 15 minutes (watching an ad) or for 1 day for 3 euros/dollars. The math is even easier if we consider the thousands of bars, restaurants and public places that offer free WiFi. You can use WiFi with any laptop computer and most of the gadgets on the market (iPod touch, PSP, Nintendo DS, Skype phones, etc…). Most of these gadgets do not have HSDPA access nor will they have it. Indeed with WiFi You have enough bandwith to upload videos, your photos, read your email and call home on Skype. Try that with mobile broadband 1GB limited plans! And with mobile carriers you have 24 months contracts, slow access speed, bad coverage indoors and those absurd per minute charges when you speak. While abroad save your 10€ for a dinner and use FON!

WiFi hot-spots are cheap to set up and maintain and WiFi support is already built in any laptop and any new gadget, PDA, smartphone and portable game consolle. Mobile networks are much more expensive to roll out and operate, expensive for users and supported on very few devices. This is why WiFi will live much longer then what this Ericsson marketing guy told us.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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