Monthly Archives: November 2011

Convenience Services And Consumers

(this post is now a bit late to the party…)

From Light Reading:

“Steven Glapa, senior director of field marketing at the Wi-Fi offload vendor [Ruckus Wireless], says that most operators are at least exploring how to charge for Wi-Fi now. Most, like AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), which has 29,000 hot spots, offer it free as a value-added service today. But Glapa says operators, in general, are considering bundling in an extra cost for the off-network access into data plans and counting that usage against the data cap. ”

Well, gee, imagine that. Can’t do boundless data plans without costing it in somewhere. I’m sure that lesson was somewhere in my high school economics class ~10 years ago, although the content would have been slightly different (likely a comparison of ice cubes in your drink would have applied). When playing in the infrastructure and/or edge services game, it’s hardly like things have no cost (or a very minimal one, at that) whatsoever. Perhaps this is a different scenario to the “cloud” space, where resources are extremely cheap and easy to come by. This is why some ISPs have gone with bundling services like these as VAS products on top of their normal offerings. An example of this would be M-Web in South Africa who bundles 500MB monthly free hotspot data into their packages, available for use at any Always-On hotspot in the country.

All in all, I’m somewhat surprised it took this long for people to realize this, but I hope that the kneejerk reactions from the suppliers can be controlled somewhat and that they rather come up with some moderately sane products to supplant internet access instead.

Oh, and can we please stop saying “free wifi” ever again? It’s a term that I’m almost convinced causes the death of baby unicorns each time it’s used.