Carrier WiFi

Working for the WLAN Dollar

ATLANTA -- Supercomm -- The organizers of this year's Supercomm show have decided to take advantage of the boom in wireless LAN communications by charging people outrageous amounts for the privilege of roaming on the 802.11b hotspots dotted around the convention center.

They're offering two hours of wireless access for $9.95, or $25 per day, or a whopping $50 for the unlimited access at the show. The convention (ho ho -- ed.) is to offer free access at trade shows.

Even commercial wireless ISPs like T-Mobile Wireless Broadband (formerly Mobilestar) and Boingo Wireless Inc. offer monthly plans starting at $30, along with various cheaper pay-as-you-go and daily options.

Not surprisingly, your intrepid Unstrung correspondent didn't see anyone availing themselves of this fantastic bargain in three days of tramping between halls, despite the dodgy wired network connections that were the norm at the show.

Now we know that someone, someday, has to make buck off WLAN hotspots. But we also keep getting told by the pundits that people will use wireless LAN -- and put up with its patchy service and roaming problems -- because it's cheaper than dialing up from hotels or business centers, which surely wasn't the case here.

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung
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