Wireless hotspot provider, Trustive, has released the results from its W LAN Roaming Research 2007, which show businesses and individual users are overpaying for their wi-fi internet connection.
The research was based on responses from more than 100 hotspot operators, representing 60,169 hotspots, as well as feedback from more than 500 end users. Currently, 45% of operator revenue comes from voucher and credit card single use payments, with only 32% subscribing to monthly billing.
”The survey shows that many end users are paying excessively on a per minute basis,” said Trustive managing director and co-founder, Bram Jan Streefland. ”Around 60% are opting for ad hoc methods of purchasing wireless services such as scratch cards or vouchers, which are often sold in hour-long blocks.
”With just over half of end users averaging a session time of 30 minutes or less, it means that about half of the time purchased is wasted and users are unnecessarily losing unused minutes.”
The survey also revealed that organisations have little say on the amount their employees are spending for wireless connection, as 85% of respondents said they pay out of their own pocket and claim the money back as expenses on their return.
But managing employees” costs is not the only problem with pre-paid services for companies, Streefland explained. ”Organisations also get people using company laptops at hotspots and operating outside of the business IT policy. This obviously has implications.”
Surprisingly, end user respondents cited price, validity period and minimum spend as more important than quality of service when it comes to pre-paid services. ”This may mean there is little impetus for operators to provide quality service to those customers, which is a concern,” said Streefland.
However, the research also suggested that the technology and accessibility of wireless hotspots is rapidly improving, with 66% of providers having established roaming agreements with international operators to improve service and 82% operating at least one agreement with an access provider.
Average connection speeds and use of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is on the increase, with 61% of hotspots operating at a speed of 2Mbp/s or more, up 39% from last year. Also 58% said their hotspots are WISPr compliant, facilitating one-click access to the network, with a further 60% of providers planning to introduce the feature within a year.