Mobile phone companies can have difficulty getting mobile phone coverage into urban buildings. Kevin Morgan from Adtran explained to me at the TelcoTV trade show that mobile phone companies can use WiFi Mobile Offloading to provide mobile telephone service inside buildings. When customers experience no service in key locations such as convention centers, airports, or hotels, this is a key motivator for changing service providers. Even if the mobile service provider has radio coverage, users commonly access high-bandwidth services while inside buildings which can overwhelm the nearby cell sites. The solution is to allow mobile service providers to connect and manage access for their customers to wifi hotspots. The mobile service provider pays a small access fee for each call to the wifi hotspot owner which can be much less than the cost of adding additional cell sites for coverage and capacity.
Managing multiple WiFi hot spots (such as inside a convention center) requires additional management capabilities (such as transferring calls between WiFi hotspots as the user moves through the building). To solve this challenge, Adtran has setup a data center that allows mobile service providers and businesses to control user access control functions including authentication, security, and service policy control. This allows communication service providers to setup cloud based management for additional wifi access options.