Wayport's Hotspot Strategy Running Circles Around T-Mobile
While T-Mobile dominated the commercial WiFi realm for quite some time, it appears that Wayport has really built up its presence over the past year. The two have been competing ever since T-Mobile’s offering was MobileStar, but once T-Mobile took over, it seemed like Wayport might go the way of plenty of other early hotspot providers (i.e., nowhere). Wayport, however, has built up strong relationships with a large number of partners, and had a big breakthrough in May with their new pricing strategy that simply charged venues a flat rate for offering WiFi (rather than charging them based on usage). This has resulted things like SBC’s FreedomLink plan which is cheap-to-free, and actually encourages people to use WiFi, rather than presenting a formidable hurdle in subscription fees. On top of that, Wayport has apparently been busy spreading their network, partly by themselves and partly through partnerships, leading them to the point where they can claim more Wayport-enabled hotspots than T-Mobile ones. T-Mobile is likely to bounce back and claim more of their own, but it’s beginning to look like Wayport has the momentum in this race, and their strategy of flat-rates for venues and widespread partnering is likely to have more legs than T-Mobile’s go-it-alone plan with high usage fees. The only question is when T-Mobile will come to their senses and change the business model.