Feeds

Paying for 802.11 by mobile phone

One bill fits all

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

The public WLAN scene is chaotic and, so far as billing revenues concerned, teeny-weeny. But the standards are coming together globally, and network providers are rolling out hotspots across the rich planet.

The punters are keen to pay for this service, according to a recent In-Stat survey of early adopters.

"Virtually all respondents were at least somewhat interested in using WLANs in public places, with 19% already using them and 33% extremely interested in utilizing them in the future."

Which is nice. But it still leaves the big problem: how to charge for mobile Internet through WLANs. Punters want seamless billing, mobile phone-style, just like when they go travelling abroad (although without the outrageous mark-ups for international roaming). They would also prefer flat fees for access - just like with broadband. We reckon that providers will be in little hurry to move to flat fee when the market is so young. Per minute charging is so much more profitable, after all.

However, the infrastructure providers want the same outcome as their customers. Seamless billing, seamless standards means much greater take-up.

But who will do the billing? A majority of early adopters want to pay for public WLAN through their mobile phone provider, which will be a welcome boost to the wireless networks, and a kick in the teeth for the landline telcos. The latter might gain a good revenue stream from public WLAN revenues, but it doesn't get to own the customer relationships.

So the mobile networks are best place to profit from public WLAN. This should push up ARPUs (average revenues per user), as In-Stat points out. Most early adopters are business users, and their companies will be willing to pay good money to squeeze out a few more drops of productivity from their employees on the move.

The mobile phone networks are having a tough time with 3G - the cost, the roll-out, the handsets - or lack of, the applications (ditto). Public WLAN will be a nice little earner. And who knows, a successful global WLAN network may encourage people to migrate some mobile data apps to 3G, some day. There will never be enough hotspots to approach the coverage of 3G. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.