Already the incumbent video and WiFi technology supplier at Orange after a deal extension a couple of years ago, French vendor SoftAtHome has been given the nod by another household name, O2.
However, despite its expanded deal with O2 Czech Republic being a significant one, it’s worth noting that the MNO is not owned by Telefonica like other O2 units (it is owned by PPF, which licenses the O2 brand), dampening hopes that the Czech deal could be the springboard for a wider group deployment.
O2 Czech Republic has in fact been running SoftAtHome’s WiFi’ON software in its Smart Booster since April. This device is a bespoke WiFi extender designed together with the operator and Korean hardware partner Kaon. SoftAtHome deployed a home gateway with O2 Czech Republic back in 2017, providing smart WiFi on a Kaon-made box running on the end of VDSL3 or V-Plus line at around 360 Mbps.
It could be said then that the SoftAtHome-O2 partnership has been a slow burner, taking two years to develop and deploy extenders. The Smart Booster comes kitted out with an integrated mesh function meaning multiple O2 Smart Boosters can mesh together creating a blanket of WiFi coverage ideal for large homes or businesses, costing a competitive $2.14 a month.
O2’s Smart Box smartphone app comes with a feature for spotting the optimum location for a Smart Booster within a property by using augmented reality. Really the AR is just providing a visual overlay for the app’s core signal strength indicator.
The device runs on a Broadcom system-on-chip and WiFi chipset, differing from its Orange deployment which uses Quantenna WiFi silicon.
Danish telco TDC has also deployed a home gateway running software from the French vendor – combining two bonded VDSL lines, high quality TV and uninterrupted communications with 4×4 WiFi. April was a good month for SoftAtHome; the next year could be even better.