Feeds

US hotspot pioneer on the ropes

HereUaren't

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

HereUare Communications Inc, a pioneer aggregator of public wireless local area network (PWLAN) hotspot services, has put itself up for sale and said it could close down completely if it can't find a buyer within two weeks.

The crisis at the company, which as recently as February claimed to offer access to 47% of US hotspots, could mark a turning point for the highly fragmented US hotspot sector which analysts believe is long overdue for significant consolidation.

San Jose, California-based HereUare said its future has been jeopardized by the current depressed investment climate, which has dissuaded its original backers from advancing further funds to the company. It has already pared its staffing levels to the bone, but earlier this week executive VP and co-founder Steven Cochrane told The Source for 802.11 that "our investors said we're not putting any more in, so shop the company."

On the face of it, HereUare would appear to be an attractive acquisition target for any telecom operator looking to build a footprint in the increasingly popular PWLAN hotspot space. The company's wholly owned subsidiary, WiFi Metro, operates 40 hotspots in the San Francisco Bay Area, and also has access points in Chicago and Seattle.

However, the bulk of the access points that support services which HereUare sells are controlled by other operators in widely dispersed locations around the US. It remains to be seen whether these access point operators are firmly wedded to the HereUare network, or indeed whether they are in locations which capable of generating profitable levels of traffic.

Earlier this year, one of HereUare's key WLAN partners, MobileStar, was rescued from bankruptcy by VoiceStream, the US mobile operator owned by Deutsche Telekom AG. After acquiring MobileStar, VoiceStream removed its 600 WLAN access points from HereUare's network, which at the time represented more than half of its available access points.

Analysts believe that as more operators like Voicestream recognize the opportunity presented by PWLAN, aggregators and independent operators like HereUare may increasingly be squeezed from the market.

Although the cost of installing PWLAN access points is relatively low as the market matures, business travelers, the most lucrative customers for PWLAN operators, will increasingly seek to subscribe to operators with the biggest footprint and the most credible business service credentials.

Smaller players such as HereUare had hoped to overcome this threat by creating roaming and aggregation agreements, but they still face an uphill task establishing themselves as well-known brand-name suppliers, particularly in today's risk-averse post-dot-com and telecoms boom investment environment.

© ComputerWire

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
What FTC lawsuit? T-Mobile US touts 10GB, $100 family-of-4 plan
Folks 'could use that money for more important things' says CEO Legere
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.