Economist And Gartner Group Knock Heads
It’s kind of entertaining when two venerable houses butt heads: the Hatfields and the McCoys, the Capulets and the Montagues, the Baxters and the Rojos, Gartner and Economist… In this case, Gartner Group has forecast that the 71,000 Wi-Fi Hotspots that will exist at E2003 is not enough to satisfy the demand of the 9.3M worldwide users. On the other side of the feud, The Economist, asserts that consumer Public Wi-Fi will flop, and PWLAN will only succeed with business customers. The Economist says that retail, coffee shop, and shopping mall PWLAN locations will fail, in contrast with Gartner’s bullish view on consumer Hotspots. Even odder, the Economist analysis is based largely on Gartner data. To be fair, Gartner seems to be saying that the consumer Hotspots will be profitable in terms of their contributions to core retail businesses (a view which we at Techdirt espouse). The Economist seems unaware of the potential for a Hotspot to attract or retain customers in the core retail business.