Asian operators are starting to think of Wi-Fi on a monumental scale. PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia has signed up with Cisco Systems for a 100,000-node Wi-Fi offload network in malls, schools, hotels, hotspots and public areas.
Those access points will be used to shunt traffic off of Telkom’s cellular data networks, greatly increasing their overall capacity. Cisco said that these access points will be Passpoint certified, which means customers will be able to automatically connect and authenticate to them whenever they’re in range.
That network is big, but it’s actually the second network of its size in Asia. Last year Japan’s KDDI deployed a 100,000-node network using Ruckus Wireless gear. Though the networks are the same size, Telkom has a lot more ground to cover. It has 22.8 million residential customers (using either wireline or fixed wireless access technologies) and 107 million wireless customers spread across the sprawling archipelago nation. That means it will have a Wi-Fi node for every 1,000 mobile customers.
KDDI is a smaller operator, with about 40 million customers, meaning there’s an access point for about 400 customers. But compared to other global Wi-Fi deployments, both operators are being very aggressive. In the U.S., AT&T has been the most pro-Wi-Fi mobile carrier, and it has a hotspot for every 4000 subscribers. In some cases, though, AT&T has deployed multiple access points in hotspot clusters so its density is higher.