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Hotspot users overpaying for access

Wireless hotspot users are paying through the nose, buying blocks of minutes that they never use, according to a report published at the Wireless Event, taking place in London this week.

One of the key findings from the second annual ‘Trustive WLAN Roaming Research Report 2007′, was that users are not getting value for money for service access.

Trustive is a hotspot access provider and aggregator.

The firm found that around 60 per cent of users are opting for ad hoc methods of purchasing wireless services such as scratch cards or vouchers, which are often sold in hour long blocks. But just over half of end users are averaging a session times of 30 minutes or less, meaning about half of the time purchased.

AS a result, 70 per cent of respondents believe pricing to be expensive and not offering value for money.

As for business users, an estimated 85 per cent control the purse strings themselves, often buying ad hoc access and then charging it back to the firm via an expenses account.

“It is not surprising that we are seeing costs for wifi getting out of control for some companies,” said Bram Jan Streefland, managing director of Trustive. “They have employees out on the road or at airports buying expensive ad hoc services and then coming back with a fistful of receipts. It makes cost control and transparency virtually impossible.”

Naturally, Trustive offers access on a per second billing model and also offers pooled minute subscriptions for enterprise users.

According to the firm, around 45 per cent of operator revenues come from voucher and credit card payments compared to 32 per cent from subscriptions, a figure which has risen from 28 per cent since 2006.

Although email and web access are still the most dominant hotspot applications, VoIP is expected to be the killer application for wifi hotspots within 12 months, according to operators.

At present, only 23 per cent of respondents said they use hotspots to make cheap calls.

In terms of roaming, around 58 per cent of hotspot operators already have a network that is fully compliant with the WISPr (Wireless Internet Service Provider roaming) specification. Of those whose network is not compliant, 60 per cent plan to do so within 12 months.

However, this figure masks some substantial discrepancies. In Europe a far higher number are committed to WISPr, with 67 per cent being fully compliant compared to only 42 per cent in the US and 44 per cent in Asia.


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