Monthly subscription services could allow business users to connect via any public Hotspot, regardless of the provider, Cutting the Wires has said.
Cutting the Wires, a mobile solutions provider, has called upon WLAN providers to put an end to the ‘tyranny’ that is affecting business users who regularly connect to the Internet via Public WiFi access points.
Laptop and PDA users who need to access their email or corporate applications whilst on the move currently need to subscribe to several accounts — often from a diverse group of WiFi Providers — in order to access the Internet from different public locations.
Planning an entire workday around locations that will allow access to a certain WiFi access provider is just not practical. Users are unlikely to be at the same location every time they want to connect to the Internet, so long-term single-provider subscriptions have also proven to be unpopular.
“It is no wonder that WLAN service providers are struggling to generate a sustainable revenue stream, when they are missing a golden opportunity to address the needs of the end users they are targeting,” says Andre Axford, CEO Cutting the Wires. “Instead of playing a crude ‘land grab’ game that focuses on shop fronts, burger bars, and gas stations, WLAN Service providers should be looking at the longer-term potential of the business-user market.”
For business users, pay-as-you-go schemes continue to be too expensive for regular use, with managers already raising objections over costly access charges on employee expense forms.
As an alternative, Cutting the Wires has appealed for a solution whereby an end-user could register for a monthly subscription service that would allow him/her to connect to the Internet via any public Hotspot, regardless of the service provider actually on-site.
The charging mechanism that would be enable this roaming feature to work would need to be put in place by the industry operators, in the same way that the GSM industry has evolved.
Cutting the Wires predicts similar success to GSM for the WiFi market, if these lessons are taken into account.
“Access to a broadband data network from anywhere is powerful, as it can dramatically increase employee productivity by encouraging the flow of business-critical information in real time,” Axford adds.
“No single provider has the coverage today to satisfy the requirements of the mobile worker. Until such a system of roaming evolves across the public WiFi Access Services industry, it is difficult to see any real revenue growth taking place.”
Or, mobile operators might counter, if seamless and easy-to-use mobile broadband access is important to your business, buy a UMTS/ HSDPA data card and log on to the cellular network whenever Wireless Lan is proving problematical.