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ABI Predicts 40% Growth for Global Wi-Fi Hotspots
By: MarkJ - 19 July, 2008 (9:13 AM)

The latest study from ABI Research has predicted that by the end of this year global Wi-Fi (wireless) Hotspots will have grown by 40% since 2007:

Most remarkable about the hotspot market, says vice president and research director Stan Schatt, are the dynamics of a fast-changing business model. “Starbucks’ decision to go to a virtually free Wi-Fi hotspot model is having a profound impact. Hotspot owners are beginning to see Wi-Fi as a cost of doing business and an operational expense, rather than as a profit center.” Schatt expects major retailers to move towards a free service model in phases.

The first phase is likely to be a free or almost free service for good customers, those who have signed up for loyalty cards.” One reason hotspot owners are willing to move towards such a business model, according to Schatt, is the realization that, “Charging for service is counter-productive in the long run because the real money will be in value-add content downloads.

The greatest growth and the largest number of hotspots continue to be found in Europe. While the UK has long led in European Wi-Fi hotspots, there is also marked growth in France, Germany, and Russia.

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