Alan Reiter posts a good analysis of two recent moves by big asian telecom carriers -Singapore Telecom andNTT DoCoMo to roll out massive numbers of hotspots throughout public Singapore and Tokyo, respectively.
These are big moves, and show off two interesting points:
In the NTT case, they are agressively making moves in the 2.4GHz space even though the ministry of Posts and Telegraphs (the Japanese equivalent of the FCC) hasn't officially opened the spectrum for outdoor use. Reliable word on the street is that they will be opening up the 2.4GHz spectrum along with a piece of the 5.1GHz spectrum for use with unlicensed devices.
In the Singtel case, they are promoting the use of the Nokia D211 multimode radio card, which supports GPRS and 802.11b WLANs. This is, in my opinion, the sweet spot where the established carriers show their true muscle.
This is also a page that the US carriers should seriously consider, both as a bridge to their 3G rollouts and as a way to lock up the business user market and to force handset manufacturers to include these capabilities in their new handsets and PDAs. If and when this happens, say goodbye to the fledgling WISP aggregator model, a la Boingo and Joltage, and all the little WISPS sprouting up where wired broadband is hard to find. The ISP model (and WISP model) will be won by those with the most capital and the most locations; any other players will have to survive at the fringes and in the smaller niches where they can dodge the footsteps of the giants.
Hey, this happened before, with the wired internet as a model, and some of the bigger ISPs were able to hang on against the ILECs. But what is so surprising to me is how quickly these large carriers are learning from their past mistakes and are getting out there with service now.