Wayport's Push To Be WiFi Hotspot King

Glenn Fleishman continues with his usual excellent reporting with an article in today’s NY Times talking about Wayport’s ability to navigate the minefield of questions surrounding commercial hotspot providers. As per usual, Glenn also adds some more commentary on his WiFiNetNews blog (I like the meta commentary of one’s own articles, by the way). Glenn is convinced that Wayport has found the right strategy, thanks to the recent deals it has signed. He also says, in researching the article, he’s discovered that there’s a lot more growth in the WiFi hotspot business than he expected, and he’s pretty sure Wayport is poised to lead the growth. I agree that there’s a lot more building going on (I’ve seen some similar evidence), but I’m still not convinced of the business models. Wayport may survive on revenue from its partners, rather than directly from consumers, but if there’s no direct revenue from consumers, does this all become a house of cards that collapses, when someone points out the strong foundation isn’t there? I’m a huge believer in WiFi, and I do think there’s a tremendous amount of money to be made around the WiFi technology. I just think it’s going to be very difficult to make it directly on WiFi, as opposed to services around WiFi. Now, with the major telecoms all jumping in and partnering with Wayport, maybe they’ll figure this out, and Wayport will benefit from the relationships. However, if the telecoms try to charge directly for WiFi, it’s going to be difficult, and Wayport may discover the golden goose stops laying eggs.

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