56: What's The Big Deal With WiFi?

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Following our coverage last week of the partnership between VAST Networks and Ruckus Wireless to deliver on Africa’s largest single deployment of WiFi infrastructure at the recently opened Mall of Africa in Midrand, South Africa — we thought it might be a good idea to invite a certified WiFi-freak to help us understand why WiFi may indeed be “the next big thing” in terms of ushering in seamless connectedness on the continent.

Joining Andile Masuku on the African Tech Round-up this week is Riaan Graham, Ruckus Wireless’ Director for Sub-Saharan Africa.

In this week’s discussion, Riaan argues that the perfect wireless ecosystem requires the harmonious interplay between fixed line telecoms operators and mobile telcos, with WiFi playing a complimentary role. However, as fixed line operators and mobile telcos continue to grapple with diminishing voice revenues, and opt to back technologies like LTE and LTE-U over WiFi, that idyllic scenario is undoubtedly a long way off.

Meanwhile, the growing demand for free internet access delivered via open public WiFi infrastructure (hat-tip to the likes of Project Isizwe) further complicates matters for legacy commercial interests who are desperately trying to work out sustainable business models to ensure they thrive in a data-driven future.