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Wi-Fi prices: Europe is being ripped off

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A report from Telecom.Paper now out says that European prices for public "hotspot" are out of line with prices in Asia and the US - and forecasts that high prices will remain for some time.

"Public WLAN prices are very heterogeneous. The current pricing structure offers simple Internet access mostly for two hours or 24 hours and monthly flat rates," says the research brief.

Germany, Austria and Switzerland are offering public WLAN access at a price at the upper end, while at the same time providing some remarkably cheap access, it adds.

The authors say: "We believe that the market will split into two segments at least: high-end for top locations with guaranteed service plans geared at business travellers and corporates and low-end at an affordable price for consumers and occasional users."

But it suggests that as the number of sites goes up, prices will drop. "In comparison to the US and Asia the European price level is high. There is a significant positive correlation between the price level and number of hotspots employed."

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