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Summary:

Looks like common sense is finally prevailing in the for-fee Wi-Fi business. Boingo Wireless, a Wi-Fi aggregator is launching a flat rate Wi-Fi plan for the entire planet, which seems like a first step in Wi-Fi price war, and that is just great, repeat great news […]

Looks like common sense is finally prevailing in the for-fee Wi-Fi business.

Boingo Wireless, a Wi-Fi aggregator is launching a flat rate Wi-Fi plan for the entire planet, which seems like a first step in Wi-Fi price war, and that is just great, repeat great news for the consumer at large. Boingo is introducing two tiered plans – 29 and 39 Euros a month that would allow travelers Wi-Fi Internet access on all Boingo-affiliate networks across the planet, according to The International Herald Tribune.

Boingo offers a $22 a month flat rate plan that is good for US and Canada. T-Mobile USA offers a $20 a month plan to its customers, though non T-Mobile customers have to pay more.

Even if one can use this flat rate plan for say two months while traveling through Europe or moving around Asia, this seems to be worth it. The hotels and other for-fee WiFi networks cost an arm-and-a-bundle, charging like $10 a day or even higher. I had been hit hard by Wi-Fi charges when I used the Starbucks/T-Mobile network in UK last year, and then this year when traveling to India via Frankfurt.

WiFi Networking News believes that sooner-or-later for-fee Wi-Fi is going to cost about $20 a month. Others, like large telephone operators and coffee shops, will throw in free Wi-Fi as a way to build customer loyalty. The Cloud which has a big Wi-Fi network in Britain, Denmark, Norway and Sweden is already looking to go Flat-rate over next few months, according to IHT. They will be boosting the number of hotspots on their network to 15,000.

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  1. bob wimax kim Sunday, June 24, 2007

    its still a rip off.. 39 euros is about 55 dollars on a good day! for friggin wifi… not wimax?!

  2. but when compared to paying like $60 for two days, it doesn’t seem that much i think a lot of us would settle for $55. But the price is going to fall, as others would try and match this price, or even beat boingo on the price.

  3. Glenn Fleishman Sunday, June 24, 2007

    Couple of thoughts. First, T-Mobile only charges $20 per month if you make a one-year commitment as a voice customer; it’s $30 per month otherwise. Both plans have cancellation penalties, too! The month to month has a fee when you halt automatic recurring billing.

    Despite T-Mobile having international operations, their $20-$30 per month fee for customers only includes 8,500 U.S. location. Overseas T-Mobile and related hotspots are metered but can be billed to the same account.

    To Bob WiMax Kim, I’d note that mobile WiMax prices haven’t yet been set yet for rates the correspond to Wi-Fi hotspots and their backhaul. Clearwire will already charge you $30+ per month for their proprietary flavor of WiMax, they have limited coverage, no mobility adapters yet (just nomadic ones), and offer just 128 Kbps upstream on their cheaper plan. Wi-Fi backhaul can be poor, but at “professional” locations like airports and so forth, upstream speeds tend to be much higher, thus useful for uploading photographs, business presentations, and other stuff.

    There are no current plans for mobile WiMax roaming among carriers. The earliest that might happen could be 2009 or later, unless Sprint and Clearwire strike a roaming deal and work hard to make it happen in 2008.

    Om, you note, “Even if one can use this flat rate plan for say two months while traveling through Europe or moving around Asia, this seems to be worth it.” It’s probably useful to note that Boingo is month to month, no cancellation fees, which means that you can use it at will in a given month by turning the account on and off.

  4. Yes, Glenn you are right about the cancellation fees on t-mobile, and also about the month-to-month nature of boingo’s plans. i like this deal since i do travel internationally and hopefully others will follow suit as well.

    thanks for your excellent analysis.

  5. If you purchase Deutsche Telekom’s most expensive Internet (16mbit) and Telephone (2 lines via ISDN incl up to 10 numbers) package for around 60€ you can use all of their Routers for free. I haven’t found out whether that goes worldwide or is limited to Germany but it is at least a starting point

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  7. Nicole Simon Friday, June 29, 2007

    Reliable Coverage and access point, global billing and everything does cost money to set up. I am all for them earning a decent amount of money and if I want a service, I have to pay for it. So far, we are on the same side I would assume.

    I think it is time for them to recognize that actually there is a group of biz people who runs around the world (from the point of the providers) and wants reliable, cost effective access.

    If they go on charging premium, other modells will emerge – think high hotel costs for phones. Who does use them anymore for other than calls to the reception and other rooms? Yes some people still do – but those are not the ones they wanted to bill.

    Especially having a global player like T-Mobile it is a shame they do not understand to offer me a product which caters to my needs. (And i would be satisfied with Europe and the US for a beginning …)

    Re boingo – I only have seen their network in London once. So great if they offer a flatrate but bad if I cannot use it.

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