Every now and then I go and check which search phrases lead people to my site. Today I stumbled over "Nokia N80 as WLAN access point". Google was nice enough to lead the searcher to an earlier post of mine about the N80 WLAN and SIP capabilities. The person looking for this was probably a bit disappointed as the blog entry did not touch this particular idea. But it looks like nobody else has had it so far, either. I think it’s a pretty cool concept. When traveling in a group, your Nokia N80, E60 or other N- or E-Series phone put in the middle of the table could give Internet access for the notebooks of all people traveling with you.
Linksys has dome something similar with their WRT54G3G Wifi router which has a slot for a 3G card. In the office or at home, the access point serves all local wlan subscribers and offers Internet access via the 3G card. However, it needs a power socket and is bulky, so not the ideal device to set up an instant hotspot for a mobile work group. This is clearly something an N80 or similar device could bring into the game. So come on Nokia, how about putting some Access Point capabilities in your phones?
Opportunity or double blow for mobile operators? Some people will argue that operators might not have been happy in the first place about Nokia putting Wireless LAN capabilities into their phones. They might see this as a way to drive usage and thus revenue out of their networks. Putting access point capabilities into a phone on the other hand drives usage back into the network, but not necessarily additional revenue. But let’s look at it from a different point of view: Many people do not use 3G so far for various reasons. Now just imagine what would happen if you invite your co-workers to use your "3G-Wifi Access point" while they travel with you. Sure, they’d happily accept and see how convenient it is not to have to search for the next wifi hotspot but to have Internet access right when and where you need it. Next time they travel on their own, they might want a 3G card, a 3G phone or a "3G-Wifi Access point" with a subscription of their own. An ideal 3G marketing tool?
Update: Still no S60 solution for this but the story continues here.