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European Hotspot Count Reaches 27,000 As Wi-Fi Prices Hit E5.74 For One-Hour


London, 9th November 2004 – A new survey from BroadGroup reveals that European hotspot deployment is approaching 27,000. Prices however are continuing to trend downwards, but still remain higher than the US and Asia.

In this the most recent survey, Wi-Fi Tariffs Europe, BroadGroup has surveyed 122 service providers in 28 countries. Since the last survey in June 2004, average prices have moved down in most of the key timeband categories. Although Europe remains more expensive than the US and Asia markets, research for the report suggests that prices are beginning to trend downwards.

The average price for one-hour – now at ?5.74 (exclusive of taxes) - for example, a timeband now offered by almost half of all service providers in Europe, has fallen cumulatively by more than 11% since January of this year. However it is noticeable that in the other two most used timebands – 24 hours offered by 56% of all service providers and 1 month (37%) – very little discernible change has occurred in average prices over the same period.

Deeper cuts have occurred in more experimental categories such as 2 hours, 3 hours and one year. The average price for one minute (offered by only a few operators) has fallen by half.

“Prices are still imbalanced when judged against the number of hotspots each provider has available and the roaming opportunity offered,” commented Philip Low of BroadGroup, “and if the current trend continues, smaller players who lack funding to continue deployment or roaming agreements or special location based offerings, will be increasingly exposed as high tariffs become unsustainable.”

An interesting trend noted in the survey is a shift to prepaid methodologies has continued, and the availability of subscription based offerings has reduced. More than 77% of all prices are based on prepaid cards, vouchers, scratchcards and credit card payments. Subscriptions have fallen back as a payment method, which contrasts strongly with the US where marketing focuses extensively on securing 3, 6 or 12 month contracts. European service offerings are currently more concentrated on shorter-term usage.

The report also finds that Hotspot deployment in Europe has increased significantly, with the survey count now approaching 27,000 across the 28 countries included. More than 68% of all hotspots are located in France, Germany and the UK. 58% of all hotspots are controlled by 30 telco or mobile operators, with 92 competitor companies managing the remaining 42%.

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