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Recent Entries

Paris Will Push Free Wi-Fi
Six Million Wi-Fi Users in Spain
Barmen: Wi-Fi? What's That?
The Cloud Goes Ultracheap with Unlimited Access
Royal KPN, T-Mobile Sign Roaming Deal
£480-a-Day Wi-Fi
Trustive Increases Roaming Network
Always Online in UK
Thames-Fi
The Times Excoriates UK Wi-Fi Prices

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Category: hotspots

July 5, 2006

Paris Will Push Free Wi-Fi

By Glenn Fleishman

The mayor wants 400 free hotspots next year: The city will allow use of public property to assist in antenna location by private firms who will obtain contracts. The proposal will also cut fiber optic fees to promote extension of those lines to 80 percent of Parisian buildings by 2010.

Posted by Glennf at 4:41 AM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2006

Six Million Wi-Fi Users in Spain

By Glenn Fleishman

El Pais reports that about 6m Spanish computer users connect via Wi-Fi, primarily in the largest cities: THe paper puts Madrid and Barcelona in the top two positions, with over 800,000 users and 700,000 users, respectively. Valencia, Seville, and Bilbao are 3, 4, and 5 with substantially fewer (about 300K, 250K, and 150K).

Barcelona has the most access points (21K), but I’m missing a subtlety of Spanish: most are “son privados,” which I think means intended to be private, and the rest are “privados,” which just means private. (Native speaker help here, please?)

The top six cities have about 2,500 commercial hotspots, half of which are in hotels, bars, and restaurants.

Posted by Glennf at 6:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 12, 2006

Barmen: Wi-Fi? What's That?

By Glenn Fleishman

Silicon.com says widespread Wi-Fi ignorance among tap pullers: Silicon.com found that the service is up and running as expected in many locations, but that staff on site have no blooming idea what in Hades you’re talking about. The Cloud, which equips 1,000 pubs with Wi-Fi, is working on an education campaign for its locations. Their marketing head was quite honest about its use, too: “Wireless internet use in pubs is fairly sporadic but we see them as an excellent target looking forward to the next few years.”

This makes perfect sense: As handheld devices increasingly have Wi-Fi, it’s much more likely to be used by those who frequent a pub. Laptops? Not so likely.

Posted by Glennf at 8:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 4, 2006

The Cloud Goes Ultracheap with Unlimited Access

By Glenn Fleishman

The Cloud’s UltraWiFi offering provides unlimited usage on its network for £11.99 ($22.50) per month with 1-year commitment: The subscription will be available starting 1 July 2006. This is a shot across the bow to every single other Wi-Fi provider in the UK, where rates are typically astoundingly and irritatingly high compared to the U.S.  and Asia. Europe has generally remained at a two to three times multiple over prices in those regions.

UltraWiFi comes in two flavors: Monthly for £11.99 with a one-year commitment, and weekly at the same rate of £11.99 but on a pay-as-you-go basis. That is, a week of unlimited Wi-Fi (any week you choose) is the same as a month without the ongoing commitment.

Because The Cloud has over 7,000 locations, including railroad stations, hotels, and airports, this pricing should produce a squeeze on competitors operating in similar venues, notably T-Mobile UK. The Cloud will start offering city centre service in the City of London soon, and in eight other UK centres in the coming months. This kind of pricing and coverage makes Wi-Fi a practical alternative to mobile phone service, or at least a good complement for dual-mode phones. The Guardian writes more about this.

In the U.S., T-Mobile offers unlimited Wi-Fi at about 7,000 locations (mostly retail, but some airports) for $20 (£11)/month for voice subscribers or $30 (£16)/month for others (1-year commitment), or $40 (£22)/month on a month-to-month basis. In the UK, T-Mobile charges £23.50 ($44) per month for unlimited usage. That’s a huge differential; it may boil down to which venues people use.

Update: An alert reader noted that T-Mobile UK has a very aggressive 3G cellular data plan that throws in Wi-Fi access. Sign up with a 12-month plan for Web ‘n’ Walk Professional and get a PC Card, quasi-unlimited 3G service, and 12 months of unlimited Wi-Fi service for £20 ($38) per month. The card is £60 with a 12-month plan or free with an 18-month commitment. (Quasi-unlimited? Like most cell operators, T-Mobile says any word means whatever they want it to mean. A long footnote explains that usage of more than 2 GB of data transfer per month will be scrutinized, and you could be throttled down after two consecutive months of such use. VoIP is prohibited.) In the US, T-Mobile offers unlimited GPRS plus unlimited Wi-Fi to voice subscribers for $50 per month with a year’s commitment.

Posted by Glennf at 1:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 29, 2006

Royal KPN, T-Mobile Sign Roaming Deal

By Glenn Fleishman

Subscribers of the two networks can roam across networks: T-Mobile has over 700 hotspots in the Netherlands. Royal KPN has about 650. This deal covers just the Dutch locations, despite T-Mobile’s several thousand other European locations and nearly 7,000 in the U.S.

Posted by Glennf at 5:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 28, 2006

£480-a-Day Wi-Fi

By Glenn Fleishman

Writer and blogger Ben Hammersley is in London at the most expensive hotspot in the world: London hotels have been cited in the past for egregious Wi-Fi pricing and ridiculous terms. One required special cards and software, and soured a number of travel writers for years on Wi-FI’s potential. The hotel charges a “mere” £15 a day for guests to have Internet access, but conference room users—Ben is there for the Guardian Changing Media Summit—pay £10 per 30 minutes. Now Ben exaggerates that it’s £480 for 24 hours, because you’d only pay while using it. But at, say, a ten hour day for £200, almost any alternative is cheaper. [link via BoingBoing]

Posted by Glennf at 2:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 24, 2006

Trustive Increases Roaming Network

By Glenn Fleishman

Trustive adds 1,400 hotspots: Trustive resells access to its aggregated network of hotspot providers. They just added AWA in Spain (1,200 locations), Wiera in Hungary (160), M3-Connect in Germany (75 large venues), and Mobitel in Slovenia (55 varied locations).

Posted by Glennf at 6:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 9, 2006

Always Online in UK

By Glenn Fleishman

 41408898 Wi Fi Inf416BBC’s Mark Ward writes about the social change that ubiquitous Wi-Fi might bring: The UK is booming with wireless networks, with the latest announcements offering seamless coverage across The City of London and Canary Wharf. There’s a growing expectation that ubiquitous high-speed Internet access will transform how companies work. Telecommuting versus mobile computing, let’s say. Likewise, customers will soon be computing everywhere, too, changing what companies need to provide to them.

Accompanying the main article is a separate piece defining some terms, but including two great graphics: one shows how a hotzone works. The other identifies areas in England and Scotland and within London that have or are planning to add hotzones.

Posted by Glennf at 3:48 AM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2006

Thames-Fi

By Glenn Fleishman

Thames Online Service adds eight miles of river-covering Wi-Fi: Ah, punt down the Thames in London (if you dare) and use free Wi-Fi during this trial phase. It will later be US$5 an hour.

Posted by Glennf at 8:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 22, 2006

The Times Excoriates UK Wi-Fi Prices

By Glenn Fleishman

A Sunday Times of London columnist shreds the notion of for-fee Wi-Fi: He doesn’t like paying for Wi-Fi, for starters, and especially not the prices that are considered reasonable in England. He’s complained to Britain’s spectrum regulator, Ofcom, which seemed to have little interest, and wonders why Wi-Fi hasn’t graduated to amenity status. He notes that two major networks, BT OpenZone and T-Mobile charge £6 and £5 per hour, respectively. (It would be hard to find a US service that charged as much as £3.50 or $6 per hour in the U.S., possibly because of so much free competition.)

Posted by Glennf at 6:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 31, 2006

AWA Expands to 12,000 Hotspots in Spain

By Glenn Fleishman

AWA will deploy thousands of new hotspots for a total of 12,000: The company has 4,000 hotspots already deployed, and will use Meru and Firetide gear (via distributor Optical) to move to 12,000 within two years; 4,500 will be at gas stations. The hotspots will support VoIP via Qtek phones that handle both VoWLAN and GSM.

Posted by Glennf at 11:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 19, 2006

Sprint Extends Hotspot Reach into Europe

By Glenn Fleishman

There are a lot of partners to this deal that allows Sprint’s corporate customers to use The Cloud’s 7,000 hotspots in Europe: Sprint has a roaming network of hotspots that it resells. Quiconnect aggregates and manages this network on behalf of Sprint (and for other companies, too), much like iPass, but under Sprint’s name. (At one point, Sprint used iPass’s network and software.)

Quiconnect arranged the roaming agreement for The Cloud’s network via RoamPoint, which is itself a wholesaler of hotspots operated by other parties. These deals have become quite baroque.

In the end, the amount of interconnection, roaming, and bilateral access means that the hotspots available to any user on any network continues to grow. Most of these additions are metered, however: it’s a single login, single bill, but not a flat price, even if there’s an unlimited domestic or home-network rate.

Posted by Glennf at 9:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 17, 2005

Heathrow Adds Hotspot Operator

By Glenn Fleishman

Surf and Sip is the latest Wi-Fi hotspot operator at the London airport: The official launch is January, but the service is up and running in departure lounges in all four terminals. The airport is unique in having three operators now: BT OpenZone, T-Mobile UK, and Surf and Sip. I’m only aware of one other airport with a second terminal-wide coverage operator—Dallas, Texas.

Surf and Sip is moderately well known in the States where’s been operating since 2000 in coffeeshops and restaurants starting in the San Francisco (Calif.) Bay Area. It expanded overseas two years ago and has extensive locations in Eastern Europe and the UK.

The hotspot operator is competing on price, according to this Nancy Gohring story over at InfoWorld: £5 per day versus T-Mobile’s £10 and BT OpenZone’s £13. All other things being equal price sensitivity and price shopping could provide the company with much more usage.

The story notes that the company’s founder spent two years negotiating with the airport authority to obtain approval after a skunkworks hotspot was removed.

Posted by Glennf at 7:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 16, 2005

Orange You Glad You Already Had Wi-Fi?

By Glenn Fleishman

Orange launches late, expensive Wi-Fi service: It’s £6 per hour with their UK launch. It combines Wi-Fi, GPRS, and 3G service. Wi-Fi in the UK will be provided through partnerships with WeRoam, BT, and BT OpenZone. Each 60-minute chunk of Wi-Fi, triggered by a text message, can be used throughout the network over 24 hours, which may lightly justify its high cost.

Posted by Glennf at 11:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 2, 2005

Fon Offers Bills, Linuses, Aliens for Wi-Fi Roaming

By Glenn Fleishman

Former WNN staffer Nancy Gohring writes about the European group Fon, which aims to spread grassroots Wi-Fi roaming: The Fon system requires the use of a Linksys gateway with new firmware they provide; they’ll offer the firmware for other gateways in the future. Fon has an eco-system of Bills, who charge for hotspot access; Linuses, who offer it for free; and Aliens, who pay to use hotspots. Linuses get free access on the Fon network, no matter what kind of hotspot, because they’re offering free service.

The idea is quite similar to the original business models of both Sputnik and SOHOWireless, and the failed Joltage (second item on linked page). All three firms tried to build grassroots or community-organized hotspot networks that would rapidly expand. They suffered from a lack of hardware and a lack of momentum. In an era when any dense neighborhood has plenty of accidentally public networks and purposely free ones, Fon may be already behind the time.

Posted by Glennf at 4:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 10, 2005

Latvia Joins Baltic Wireless Club

By Glenn Fleishman

I noted the other day that Estonia is tops in Wi-Fi, Lithuania is starting to roll out wireless broadband and hotspots, but Latvia was missing from the picture: Now I see it’s all about timing. Lattelekom has 150 hotspots deployed, 75 percent of them in the capital of Riga. This article notes there are 45,000 laptop owners in Latvia but 3,500 being sold each month. The telco will increase the total to 200 during 2005, and add 150 more (or is it 350 more? it’s ambiguous) in 2006.

Costs are roughly US$1.60 per hour or US$16 for 24 hours. Service with a monthly commitment is about $5 per month for a US-cent per minute rate or about US$17.50 per month for unlimited use.

Posted by Glennf at 9:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 21, 2005

Lithuania Launches Hotspots

By Glenn Fleishman

Lietuvos Telekomas has 100 active hotspots: They’ll have 300 in place by the end of 2005, with no plans to charge until next year to boost interest. Wi-Fi hotspots are being installed in major cities like Vilnius in locations such as cafes, filling stations, and shopping centers.

My father’s family all came from one small town in Lithuania—Janova—and I’m proud to see my homeland cut the cord.

Posted by Glennf at 6:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 17, 2005

Ireland with 50 Base Stations

By Glenn Fleishman

Ireland Offline needs a new spokesperson: John Timmons, the broadband advocacy group’s talking head, said in this article that all of Ireland could be served by just 50 mobile WiMax base stations using technology that should be available by 2008.

The article has other problems, mostly from uninformed opinions quoted directly. For instance, on Philadelphia:

“The local authority was going to set it up themselves but didn’t have the technical knowledge,” said Stephen McCormack, alliances director with Bitbuzz, an Irish wi-fi provider. “They had to contract private companies to do it for them. This increased the costs of the project and will make it more expensive for consumers.”

Oddly, EarthLink’s winning bid a few weeks ago requires the company to cover all expense and meet the proposal’s pricing structure. As far as I know, Philadelphia always planned to contract this out, too.

The article does bring out a usual complain that’s been hampering the growth of competitive wireless networks: putting up masts (or poles) on which to mount antennas. Real estate rights remain a key challenge in metropolitan-scale deployments.

Posted by Glennf at 3:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 3, 2005

Eircom Works with Business to Double Hotspots

By Glenn Fleishman

The Chambers of Commerce across 18 Irish counties will work with Eircom to add over 400 new hotspots: The hotspots per town will average 20 to 30, and the company estimates an increased reach of 500,000 people.

Posted by Glennf at 9:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 30, 2005

BT Datazone Combines Hotspots, 2.5/3G

By Glenn Fleishman

The new services runs £49 for 4,000 minutes of Wi-Fi, 75 MB of cell data per month: BT Datazone works at 7,800 BT Openzone hotspots and on GPRS and 3G networks. The Register article says the service will work worldwide on 30,000 hotspots. No note about roaming charges, however, if any, and there’s no information on BT Openzone’s site yet about this plan.

Posted by Glennf at 5:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 26, 2005

Vantaa Energy Shuts Down Hotspot Network

By Glenn Fleishman

Wivanet will be offline by early next year: The hotspot network hasn’t seen enough usage for the company to continue to invest in it. The firm to which Vantaa sold its ISP business has no interest in taking over the hotspots. Finland is so cell-phone based, it’s possible—as the article notes—that residents are fixated on next-generation cellular.

Posted by Glennf at 9:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 15, 2005

Quiconnect Adds ADP to Roaming Network

By Glenn Fleishman

ADP Télécom operates several French airports, along with prominent hotesl and business venues: Quiconnect doesn’t provide a count, but this is a very strong addition to their portfolio. Some U.S. telecom operators resell Quiconnect’s portfolio as international Wi-Fi roaming has become increasing important to their best customers.

Posted by Glennf at 6:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 19, 2005

T-Mobile Beefs Up Wi-Fi Network in Hungary

By Nancy Gohring

T-Mobile added nine access points in the Lake Balaton region of Hungary: The hotspots will cover marinas on the lake. T-Mobile has 85 hotspots in Hungary.

Posted by nancyg at 9:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Glasgow Goes Wireless

By Nancy Gohring

BT Openzone has built six hotspots in Glasgow’s city center: The hotspots cover the main shopping and business areas. The goal is to allow city workers to use the network.

Posted by nancyg at 8:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 27, 2005

Trento, Italy, Opens Hotspots

By Nancy Gohring

The city of Trento and some universities have opened up their hotspots to the public: The group deployed the hotspots to develop and try different applications. They’ve opened the network up to locals and tourists. Visit the site for info on how to log on. [Link via Esme.]

Posted by nancyg at 1:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 18, 2005

Skype Adds Cloud To Skype Zones

By Glenn Fleishman

Skype users can make, receive calls at 6,000 The Cloud hotspots for a fee: Skype Zones puts Skype into hotspots via laptops without allowing other services at a reduced rate compared to Wi-Fi access. Tony Smith at The Register notes that The Cloud already had a Skype Zone via the Boingo deal which encompasses The Cloud and 12,000 other locations.

Unlimited access to the still-in-beta Skype Zones costs €2.50 for two hours or €6.50 per month. Pricing may change, The Register says.

Posted by Glennf at 11:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 12, 2005

More High-Price Access

By Nancy Gohring

Swisccom Eurospot will offer hotspots in Hilton hotels in Western and Eastern Europe: The move offers Swisscom Eurospot an entrance into some new markets. Swisscom’s pricing is quite high but Hilton caters to the business traveler and the higher end market so those customers may be able to afford it.

Posted by nancyg at 1:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 7, 2005

Verizon Winds Down, Eircom Ramps Up

By Nancy Gohring

A reader wrote us a quick note to say that after some work he found one of the few remaining Verizon pay phone hotspots that is still live: Verizon recently said that it would remove the hotspots it had set up from pay phones around New York City. Meanwhile, Eircom here in Ireland seems to be ramping up its hotspot activities. In addition to rolling out advertising that identifies which pay phones offer hotspot service, Eircom advertised heavily at the recent Ireland v. Israel World Cup qualifying match. Eircom ads touting its hotspot service (not specifically touting the pay phone service though) ringed the field. I was surprised to see such mainstream advertising for hotspots here in Ireland where the hotspot concept isn’t widely known. When the incumbent operator begins to invest in advertising for an offering, it can be good news for the whole market because it can generally raise awareness. [thanks to Klaus for the Verizon experience]

Posted by nancyg at 4:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 22, 2005

Vodafone Adds Irish Wi-Fi

By Glenn Fleishman

Vodafone has signed with BitBuzz and BT OpenZone to offer its 530,000 Irish customers Wi-Fi hotspot access: The price is an outrageous €5 for 30 minutes or €10 per hour—outrageous from my U.S. vantage point, but apparently not out of line in Ireland. Vodafone will apparently also allowing roaming across Europe “without roaming fees” as the article puts it—but obviously priced in this same fashion. (Ironically, I’m reporting this from Seattle; our Dublin correspondent, Nancy Gohring, is on holiday.)

Posted by Glennf at 6:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 20, 2005

BT Worries About the Media

By Nancy Gohring

BT’s chief of wireless broadband thinks that media reports covering security issues with Wi-Fi may deter usage: I’m not sure what he’s suggesting—that we don’t write about security problems? That’s hardly a solution. It’s better for users to know the risks so they can do their best to protect themselves, rather than start using Wi-Fi blind to the risks. The threat of less usage due to security concerns can also spur the industry to improve security. BT’s reaction to the hysterical stories that may exaggerate the problems should be to help set the record straight, not try to suppress all coverage of the topic.

Contrast BT’s attitude with T-Mobile’s: on the T-Mobile Web site, they spell out the risk in gory detail: “As with any high-speed wireless service, the T-Mobile HotSpot network is not inherently secure. Furthermore, wireless communications can be intercepted by equipment and software designed for that purpose.” Of course, T-Mobile has been offering 802.1X authentication—each account gets a unique strong session encryption key when a user logs in using this process—for several months in the U.S.

Posted by nancyg at 9:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 19, 2005

Telebria Intros Hotspot With Cellular Backhaul

By Nancy Gohring

Telebria is offering a portable hotspot: Users connect to the hotspot via Wi-Fi and the access point uses 3G or GPRS for backhaul. The access point can also detect if it is in range of a Telebria mesh network and if so, it can use that network for backhaul.

Telebria calls this the “first” portable hotspot but it’s not. In March, O2 said it would start selling a device from Novatel that uses 3G for backhaul and Wi-Fi for access. And last year a company called Junxion began selling a similar device.

The Telebria access point supports data cards from Vodafone, O2, T-Mobile, and Orange. The press release should eventually appear here.

Posted by nancyg at 5:38 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 8, 2005

Some BMW Showrooms Get Wi-Fi

By Nancy Gohring

BT Openzone is building hotspots in three BMW showrooms in London: BMW drivers can access the network while they wait for their cars to be cleaned or repaired. The access isn’t free.

A couple of car dealerships in Atlanta in the U.S. have introduced Wi-Fi in their showrooms. Like the BMW offering, the service is aimed at people who are waiting for repairs to be completed.

Posted by nancyg at 1:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 1, 2005

Eircom Targets Hotspot Venues

By Nancy Gohring

Eircom is offering cafes and other venues a Hotspot in a Box service in Ireland: Venues buy an access point from Eircom which is configured to link back to Eircom’s authentication and payment systems. Eircom essentially sells sign-in vouchers to the cafe at a 25 percent discount. The cafe in turn sells the vouchers to end users. Eircom hotspot subscribers can also use the hotspots. Cafes can also opt to pay Eircom 50 per month and offer customers 30-minute free-access vouchers. In both cases, the cafe pays for its own DSL line for backhaul.

This is not a particularly good deal. While it takes care of billing and potentially draws existing Eircom hotspot customers into the venue, it appears that there is no setup or ongoing technical support. Venues also have to charge customers an exorbitant 10 per hour if they want to earn any share of the revenue. To be fair, that price is fairly standard in Ireland for hotspot access but it doesn’t allow venues the flexibility of charging what they like.

Bitbuzz, a hotspot operator that offers to build and maintain networks for venues, isn’t worried about the potential new competition. BT began making a similar offering over a year ago and while Bitbuzz was initially concerned about the potential competition, it didn’t ultimately make a difference, said Alex French, operations director at Bitbuzz. The Eircom and BT offerings could affect Bitbuzz’s efforts at winning customers on the low-end of the coffee shop market, but French doesn’t expect to notice much an impact. Bitbuzz pays for and installs the access points and asks locations to buy a certain amount of network usage time each month. The venue can choose whether to give access to customers for free or charge any fee they like for access.

The Hotspot in a Box may be part of a larger change in hotspot strategies at Eircom. In December, the company introduced free access to hotspots that were delivered from Eircom pay phones. I noticed yesterday that at least one of those hotspots now requires a fee for access and I’ve heard that some of the other phone booth hotspots have gone down or are also now charging fees for access. I spoke with an Eircom press representative a couple of weeks ago who said the company was re-evaluating the phone booth concept and he wasn’t able to give me additional details at the time.

Editor’s note: Please note that an earlier version had Eircom offering a 75 percent discount on vouchers. Thanks to Alex for the correction.

Posted by nancyg at 4:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 23, 2005

MCI Adds Boingo Hotspots

By Nancy Gohring

MCI business customers can access Boingo hotspots in the United States, Europe, and Asia-Pacific: The deal is part of MCI’s Remote Access Service, an offering used primarily by traveling business people to access the Internet. The agreement means those customers can access an additional 3,400 hotspots in the U.S. and 1,300 in Europe and Asia-Pacific. MCI’s Remote Access Service already includes 6,200 hotspots. This agreement puts MCI in league with some of the other big consolidators that offer wired and wireless access to traveling business people.

The wording in this press release and the subsequent coverage I’ve seen is really vague about where the hotspots come from, with only a sideways mention of Boingo. But after a couple of quick emails to a helpful press representative at MCI, it sounds to me like this is a standard Boingo deal for MCI.

Posted by nancyg at 4:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 28, 2005

Method Behind the Madness

By Nancy Gohring

Reader David Kelly, a student at University College Cork in Ireland, offered us his two cents on Eircom’s possible strategy behind offering Wi-Fi access from payphones: I set out one day to try to use some of the free access offered by Eircom from pay phones around Dublin only to discover it wasn’t very practical in rainy Dublin to find a place to sit outside nearby one of the payphones to get online. Kelly points out that Eircom is required by ComReg, the Irish regulatory agency, to continue to provide payphone service. Adding Wi-Fi to the payphones is relatively simple—Eircom only needs to upgrade the line for DSL and add an access point. While the Wi-Fi access is currently free, the trial may be an attempt to discover if Wi-Fi could ultimately earn some revenue for Eircom. With mobile phone penetration reaching nearly 90 percent in Ireland, I can’t imagine that Eircom makes much money from the payphones. Kelly also points out that Eircom sells ad space on the phone booths and also plasters its own advertising on the booths. Both are attempts to leverage the fact that they are required to continue to support the pay phones.

Kelly also suggests that Eircom might do better to add the Wi-Fi access to indoor pay phones, which may be located in train stations or shopping centers or high-traffic locations. That would make a lot more sense than the outdoor offering.

Posted by nancyg at 1:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack