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The PWLAN Future: Premium Location Pricing

In June, we discussed how Boingo had added LaGuardia airport to their network, and noted that it was Boingo roaming on Wayport offering service actually provided by Concourse Communications (phew). Our final line was, “With this many fingers in the pie, is there a reasonable business model?” Well, it turns out our doubts were well founded. As a Wayport customer, I received the e-mail, below, informing that Wayport and Concourse could not find a reasonable business model, and have ceased their roaming agreement for LGA and MSP airports. It’s probably the case that Wayport was paying Concourse a couple of bucks for each time one of their customers used the Concourse WiFi. Concourse probably wanted to up the rate, and Wayport walked. Concourse (rightly) assumes that they have a privileged position by “owning” the location, so they will want to extract $10-$15 from each customer session. This bodes ill for any kind of roaming deal at premium locations. Will we see a market where airports, hotels, and conference centers gouge users, and other lower value locations offer subscriptions, roaming, and lower prices? Perhaps, which will certainly open the door for carriers offering 3G data on post-paid, wide area networks.

"Beginning Oct. 1, 2003, Wayport's Wi-Fi service unfortunately will no longer be available at LaGuardia (LGA) and Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) airports. Despite efforts by Wayport and Concourse Communications, Wayport's Wi-Fi partner at these airports, we are unable to continue the relationship, in part because Wayport feels that the proposed terms provided by Concourse are not feasible."

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