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AT&T's Stankey Pans Passpoint Technology for Residential Environments

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 12:46pm
Andrew Berg

AT&T Chief Strategy Officer John Stankey says dual-mode, public/private Wi-Fi routers are an interesting proposition but he has a hard time justifying the technology in a residential setting. 

"Dual-mode router, and public/private, has its application," Stankey said, while speaking at the Oppenheimer investment conference, which was broadcast online. "But I'm a little mystified by the residential application for that kind of thing." 

Stankey said that the experience of using the technology, which is called Passpoint and is being developed by Qualcomm, wouldn't be up to AT&T's standards if it was deployed to improve capacity in a residential area. He said that customers walking between houses in a neighborhood would plagued by intermittent connectivity and interference due to the complexities of Wi-Fi. 

"Wi-Fi handoffs and Wi-Fi signals are inhernetly difficult to manage," Stankey said. "I don't consider it a good experience." 

While Stankey said incenting customers to use Wi-Fi in their homes is nothing new, he added that broad adoption of residentail dual-mode routers would depend largely on the availablity of more unlicensed spectrum. 

Stankey also commented on a number of other issues, inlcuding the value of AT&T's recent DirectTV acquistion in deploying broadband to rural areas. He said that AT&T will be able to make use of fallow spectrum assets in rural areas. 

On the staus of the DirecTV deal, which still needs regulatory approval, Stankey said things are looking up. 

"We feel better with this than where we were at with the T-Mobile deal," Stankey said. 

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