Hotspot Pricing Sucks, Says CEO

Europe's showing worrying signs of repeating the tariff mistakes made in the US, says WiFi evangelist

December 3, 2003

1 Min Read
Hotspot Pricing Sucks, Says CEO

Europe is in danger of repeating many of the mistakes made by the U.S. public WLAN market, including overpricing, according to self-styled 802.11 evangelist James Kinsella, executive chairman of pan-European operator Interoute Telecommunications, which operates a roaming service (see Interoute Launches WLAN Roaming).

On Tuesday, Kinsella told the FT World Telecommunications Conference in London that, on average, an hour's access to a hotspot in Europe costs €9.9 ($12).

Now, while Kinsella didn't make this comparison, a quick trip to Ebay by Unstrung soon revealed what you can get for less than 12 bucks these days, providing an elegant demonstration of what a giant ripoff hourly access rates really are. Why, for a mere $9.99, you can get yourself an awesome pair of cast-iron buggy wagon steps, or an antique baby's potty! [Ed. note: Best be quick, punters.]

Anyhoo... The point, says Kinsella, is that the hotspot market in the U.S. has been hamstrung (as opposed to unstrung) by "prices that are too high and inconsistent, and [the fact that] there's no single way to access wireless LAN networks. There are too many different user experiences. Now it looks like Europe is making some of the same mistakes."

— Ray Le Maistre, International Editor, Boardwatch

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