EUROPE WILL SEE WIRELESS HOTSPOT GROWTH BUT REMAINS THE MOST EXPENSIVE REGION FOR USERS
London, July 23rd 2003 - BroadGroup, the London-based consultancy, revealed today that analysis conducted for a new report suggests that European pricing for public access wireless LANs is still the highest worldwide. The report also forecasts that growth in hotspot deployment will increase across Europe by some 45% to the end of this year, across the companies surveyed. The report, Public Access Wireless LANs – Pricing and Trends, has assessed and interpreted marketing strategies and pricing schemes across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific, covering 87 players in 23 countries. “Pricing is broadly falling into classic time bands,” commented Philip Low, managing consultant at BroadGroup. “Although service providers would prefer to sell monthly subscriptions, more are now making available weekly, 24-hour and 1-hour prepaid schemes.” The report found that some players are differentiating by offering blocs of 2-hours and 4-hours or other categories, and offering bundled products with GPRS. But European prices tend to be generally higher, and widely spread, whereas the US appears to have a more cohesive price range and is highly competitive. “The European market is not yet fully competitive for these types of services,” commented Philip Low, “but this will change by early in 2004 as customer awareness of the benefits of wireless LANs diffuses, and roaming capabilities play a greater part in their choice of provider.” Since the last study conducted by BroadGroup in February of this year, the report finds that schedules planned for network deployment have not yet been fully realised. The Iraq war, SARS in Asia and elsewhere, a slow down in business travel, and the consequent effect on hotels, airlines, airports and other locations associated with Wi-Fi have collectively impacted overall deployment. However, Europe is catching up, and this survey suggests that the region will experience the highest growth rate globally, in terms of deployment over the next six months. By 2004 however, the report suggests that a number of factors will begin to influence the pace and change of deployment and pricing, including the impact of new roaming and billing platform structure players, which may also possibly begin to displace the role of aggregators, especially in Europe. TDC Denmark (0.05) followed by Broadreach UK (0.07) and Swisscom Eurospot (0.07) offered the cheapest per minute rates in Europe. The cheapest rate found in Asia (and globally) – 0.03 – is offered by ChungHwa Telecom Co Ltd, and in the US by T Mobile (0.05) for 1-hour usage.