Concourse Roams with NetNearU

On Friday, we looked at how Wayport and Concourse could not come to terms on a roaming agreement for LaGuardia and MSP airports. Today, Concourse announced a new partner, NetNearU, who will provide the billing,authentication, and support for Concourse. What differs between the NetNearU deal and the Wayport deal is that NetNearU is not providing any roaming into the airport, meaning Concourse is setting the airports up as “islands” of WiFi connectivity. If you want to use their WiFi, you will pay them directly, and the amount will likely be dear. “The airports are telling us they want true neutrality in the provision of wireless voice and data services, and we are responding,” said Joe Beatty, CEO of Concourse Communications. What he really means is: Concourse and the airports don’t want to limit the profits they can extract from their premium locations by allowing roaming from a partner. I think their shareholders would agree. We should be used to this model by now: movie theaters gouge you $10 for a soda and popcorn, and they can because they control the location and commands a premium. Can’t you just bring food from home? (effectively “roaming” with your Milk Duds) No, because they say “no outside food”. Concourse is just doing the same thing. Killing the Wayport deal is like saying “no outside food”.

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