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Wireless Networking Hardware

WiFi Hotspots to Cost Wireless Carriers $12B 222

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the thats-a-lotta-bits dept.
j.e. writes "Commercial WiFi hotspots and open WiFi networks will take about $12 billion out of wireless carrier revenue pie, says Starategy Analytics. With high prices of mobile data services from wireless carriers, the users are more prone to use a cheap WiFi connection, if one is available."
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WiFi Hotspots to Cost Wireless Carriers $12B

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  • by Danimoth (852665) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:21PM (#11497457)
    things cost money...
  • by Eunuch (844280) * on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:21PM (#11497466)
    I used the EDGE from Cingular wireless data plan. $80 (0x50 dollars) a month! It worked decent but the worst part was the latency. I was getting 1-2 second latencies. Do not try to game with it at all. Yet I'd still like a single everywhere-network rather than dealing with lots of accounts with various wi-fi hotspots. If they could just get the latency down and improve reception (if your cell is showing half power don't even bother with trying data).
  • by Oculus Habent (562837) * <oculus.habent @ g m a i l.com> on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:22PM (#11497477) Journal
    This sounds like crap statistics if I've ever heard them. Cost $12 billion is a little different than "Won't make $12 billion because the services are overpriced."
    • Exactly what I was thinking. When I read the headline I was imaginging that cellular data use was way more popular than I imagined and that WiFi hotspots are eating into that side of the business.

      Just because the wireless carriers projected ridiculous revenue from their own WiFi hotspots that they won't make doesn't mean the carriers are "losing" anything since they never had the money in the first place.

      I have a suggestion for the wireless carriers to "regain" some of the money they never had to begin

    • by tyler_larson (558763) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:36PM (#11497644) Homepage

      I've already lost trillions on my canned-air venture this year alone. I figured that, as vital as breathing air is, people would be willing to pay my reasonable rate of $200 per cubic foot.

      Apparently there's a free alternative that people are taking advantage of, driving my company out of business. How can I undersell free? Better label those free-breathers out there as "air pirates" and start a "get the facts" campaign about the total-cost-of-breathing.

    • "Won't make $12 billion because the services are overpriced."
      Meanwhile, truckers are starting to buy and use laptops on the road, and WiFi access can now be had at almost any pit stop along their routes [flyingj.com] at prices that are somewhere between dialup and broadband. Here is a WiFi provider that clearly understands its market. Put the hammer down and watch out for Smokey, yo!
  • An analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DamienMcKenna (181101) <damien@NoSpaM.mc-kenna.com> on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:24PM (#11497500)
    "With all these free radio stations people won't buy our records."

    "With all these free movies on TV people won't go to the movies."

    Having said that, cellphone service is nowhere near what it should be in terms of reliability and quality. How many of the main carriers allow you to do what you want with your phone (e.g. bluetooth restrictions in many phones) and your service (forward messages & voicemail via email, etc)?

    Damien
    • by rjelks (635588)
      I'm actually posting from my cellphone right now. You can't get much more reliab....[NO CARRIER]
    • A Verizon manager last night told me that they (Verizon) don't cripple any functionality, that it was the Phone manufacturers who crippled it.

      But I did learn that if you make a big enough stink in a crowded store in a mall, they actually start to work with you...
      • A Verizon manager last night told me that they (Verizon) don't cripple any functionality, that it was the Phone manufacturers who crippled it.

        But what incentive would the phone makers have to build a phone with abilities only to cripple them? From their perspective, the more a phone does, the better it sells. I do believe that it is them who cripple the phones, but only because the carriers ask them to.
    • Re:An analogy (Score:4, Informative)

      by linuxtelephony (141049) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:57PM (#11497873) Homepage
      And what is worse, the effective usability of cell phones is now WORSE than what they were just 4 to 6 years ago.

      Yes, things were still mostly analog, with a few early adopters having digital, but for roaming your analog service was virtually seamless, especially along major interstates.

      I recently drove west along I-10 with a digital phone, and spent literally hours where I could not get a call out. Yes it was in some of the "mountain" areas, but it was an area that used to have analog coverage that worked (because I drove it and know).

      It really infuriates me what they've done. I spent several years building cellular (analog) networks, even in some mountain areas. I know the service is possible in these areas, but since the "new and improved" digital phones include the ability to restrict what services the phones may roam on (and in some cases, the newer phones won't even do analog), we've gone BACKWARDS. It's pathetic!
      • So your current phone is dual band instead of tri-band. Get a different model.

        The analog networks are still there, and even expanding in some areas of the west where digital just doesn't have the range to be feasible.

  • Just so you know.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Prophetic_Truth (822032) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:24PM (#11497501)
    97.576% of all statistics are inaccurate.
  • Boo Hoo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jgerry (14280) * <jason,gerry&gmail,com> on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:24PM (#11497505) Homepage
    Get a better business model. Or better yet, just go away. Just because people want something, doesn't mean they have to pay YOU to get it. More and more, they may not have to pay at all (open WiFi access points, Linux, etc).
    • I admit this is techincally flamebait, but it needs to be said:

      To all the wireless companies out there: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Suck it.
  • by Superfreaker (581067) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:25PM (#11497509) Homepage Journal
    $12 billion out of wireless carrier revenue pie, says Starategy Analytics


    Reading /. has cost my company $101 gabozillion dollars in lost productivity!
  • Don't think so (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DustyShadow (691635) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:26PM (#11497526) Homepage
    I won't buy wireless service from a provider and this has nothing to do with wi-fi hotspots. I've never even used a wi-fi hotspot. The main reason that I won't buy wireless service from a provider is because of the insane price. I'm sure most people are in my boat.
  • by stendec (582696) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:26PM (#11497533)
    WiFi Hotspots to Cost Wireless Carriers $12B

    They shouldn't have bought all those hotspots if they're going to complain about the price! It's amazing how stupid some people can be.

  • This is step 1 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ENOENT (25325) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:27PM (#11497542) Homepage Journal
    Step 2 is getting laws against free WiFi accessed passed in Congress.

    Hey, it worked for the RIAA!!!
    • by Blackbrain (94923) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:40PM (#11497689)
      This should be +5 insightful, not funny. It is only a matter of time before some "media friendly" senator attaches a rider to an education package that bans open WiFi access. Or more likely, a Homeland Security bill because Terroists might use open WiFi links in an attack.
      • That's rather un-American of you to be criticizing your own government!
      • It is pretty sad when a statement like "free wi-fi costs company $12 Billion" is even a headline" Think about the logic for a second. It's like saying "free air breathers cost oxygen tank manufacturers".

        The wireless companies may or may not be charging too much--I couldn't guess at what the overhead is to start up the network. But the real problem is that we have been taught a psychology that companies have any rights at all. If a company does not provide utility, then it should fail in the market. I've ma
      • It is only a matter of time before some "media friendly" senator attaches a rider to an education package that bans open WiFi access.

        Keep in mind that "a matter of time" can refer to any point between right now and the heat death of the universe...

        The sky is not falling.
      • I interviewed the FBI at SeattleWireless TV [seattlewireless.net], and the agent I talked to said he hadn't seen any attempted attacks. I should probably get an update and post it.
        • I interviewed the FBI at SeattleWireless TV, and the agent I talked to said he hadn't seen any attempted attacks.

          I should probably get an update and post it.


          Are you nuts? Let sleeping lions lie. Even if the agent you talk to has no 'political' aspirations, even if his boss doesn't either, all it takes is for the right idiot to get the wrong idea and we're off on a new crusade agaisnt freedom.

          Don't tempt fate. Really.
      • If you REALLY wanted to get free WiFi banned in the interest of "national security" (but actually in the interest of special interest), then the best way to do it would be to have "someone" plant some bombs in high profile locations where they were meant to be discovered; possibly have a FEW blow up just to make sure peoples' 9-11 knees are a jerk'n. Upon closer examination of the bombs it would be determined that they were to be triggered remotely via anonymous 802.11x. Let the media run wild with the stor
    • Looks like it already worked for Verizon [directionsmag.com].
  • by CygnusXII (324675) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:28PM (#11497557)
    I thought the FCC gaurded the airwaves and held them in trust, for the American people? Does Joe and Sally Citizen need for the FCC to auction off the Bandwidth to the highest bidder? I think not. The sad part is all the hobbiest that are gonna get screwed, when the bandwidth they propogate is wanted for some other new technology. All this is is a sign that Joe and Sally Citizen are willing to do some grass roots, initiative type activities and spread the Bandwidth around.Screw the MAN!! so to speak, and for once utilize what is rightfully theirs. I understand that not all WiFi spots are opened purposfully and meant for use, but you cannot say that all of them are not meant to be so, either. I check for available spots before I go on any trips, and I keep Netstumbler and a few other tools with me always.
  • by dslbrian (318993) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:29PM (#11497562)

    Poster forgot some words, it should read:

    With the artificially inflated exorbitantly high prices of mobile data services from wireless carriers, the users are more prone to use a cheap WiFi connection, if one is available.

    No sympathy for wireless carriers here, now they get to suffer for their own bad pricing plans...

    • I think it shows people are willing to pay a "fair" price for poor coverage area than a high price for far better coverage area. Do not forget the coverage area. "Wi-Fi" generally can't do a few thousand feet without a huge antenna on both ends, cell phones often get several miles from any one of the plethora of towers, and the phone end of the antenna is pretty small.
    • by Glonoinha (587375) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @07:15PM (#11498111) Journal
      Bingo. I looked into data services on my GSM phone.

      They wanted three cents per kilobtye.
      That's $30 a Meg - are those motherfuckers crazy?

      Download one really good porn avi or mpg and you are talking about $20,000. For $20,000 you should have dozens of real live women delivered to wherever you happen to be using your cell phone, lubed up and ready for sex.
  • by sootman (158191) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:29PM (#11497565) Homepage Journal
    "Wireless carriers will not earn $12B because better options exist."

    Note: you can't lose what you don't yet have.

    Interesting fact: you are not entitled to a profit. If your business model sucks, or if your product is too costly, it will fail. See also: airphones. Remember them? All gone now, because using cell phones (which everyone already has) before and after the flight is good enough.
  • In other news, Linksys employees were seen dancing in the streets.
  • *vroom* (Score:5, Funny)

    by Willow_mt (550444) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:31PM (#11497580) Homepage
    I'm getting the sudden urge to go wardriving...

  • Outside the US (Score:5, Informative)

    by Datasage (214357) * <Datasage@the w o r l d i s g r e y.com> on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:32PM (#11497597) Homepage Journal
    There are some places in the world were gprs is a cheaper option to dialup. For my girlfriend in jakarta, the dialup option charges her for how much time she spends online. While she can get unlimted access via gprs for about $20-$30 per month from indosat. Other than some major latency and connection issues to a couple sites, she can get dialup speeds pretty easily.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:39PM (#11497673)
    Having watched many MANY people gleefully tout their new "connected" "enabled" or otherwise crappified phone only to be disappointed by the utter lack of basic service requirements like convenience, reliability, ease-of-use, I can assure you the only thing that's costing them $12B is their lack of those three and a failure to understand what people really want. They want it all and they want it now and they want it free. WIth the proliferation of WiFi hotspots, they can get it... so... you can't sell snow to eskimos... whatever.

    Besides it doesn't COST you $12B when you haven't spent $12B. duh!

    I know. run-on. bad punctuation, but hey, you didn't pay to read this!

  • Charge too much for something, and people will find another way to get it.

    I wonder if there are any other businesses that could learn that lesson out there right now?

  • This will all come together when we have UMA [umatechnology.org] phones. UMA lets a voice call roam between WiFi and 3G networks seamlessly, like moving between cells on the same network. It might even let a call roam between two overlapping 3G networks, like Cingular and T-Mobile, depending on which one has a cheaper or better signal at the moment. Then our smartphones can be really smart, choosing which network to access based on our own rules (maybe downloaded from a phone blog).
    • Why? Then cellular companies would have to compete on price, reliability, and service instead of locking their customers into cell plans and pillaging them. The whole point of cell phone plans is to lock your customers in and beat them silly. Anything that prevents cellular companies from doing that will either be neutered or prohibited; after all, isn't it Congress's job to fund unprofitable industries for their donors^H^H^H^H^H^Hcitizens?
      • Because without UMA, cell carriers will get shut out of the equation entirely, as their customers stay confined to cheaper, higher bandwidth WiFi hotspots for most of our calls. With UMA, they can avoid being relegated back to the days of "for emergencies only", while WiFi VoIP capitalizes on all their $billions in investments in capital and marketing.
        • WOW! GPRS/GSM with WiFi feature really works!

          Imagine a cluster-fuck of freeloaders making nearly dirtcheap phone calls from restaurants, sidewalk cafes, coffeehouses anywhere in the world?

          Those businesses are sure gonna be making mucho-dinero on the WiFi side (not to mention their regular business as well.)

          A great way to simulate the local economy as well. We all know we need more of that, but the cellphone infrastructure-oriented industry vows not to see this happened.

          That WiFi-VoIp shall flourish, u
    • This will all come together when we have UMA phones.

      If only UMA can come together, see here [slashdot.org]

      SteveM

  • Misleading title (Score:5, Insightful)

    by argent (18001) <peter@NOspam.slashdot.2006.taronga.com> on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:45PM (#11497755) Homepage Journal
    Should read, "WiFi to save wireless users $12B", or "WiFi to get up to $12B slice of wireless pie".

    Not making as much revenue as predicted is not a "cost".
  • "Just find an open WAP" is most definately NOT always an option. That said, how much do the Hotspot providers make? I rarely see coffee shops with free wifi anymore. They've all settled on some for-profit wifi service, like jwire or the t-mobile hotspot setups.

    Did I mention that I'm now in the Silicon Valley? Definately not BFE. I have an account with T-Mobile because I know that I'm very likely to find a hotspot when I need one. If there were more free hotspots, I might not really need such a service. Sad
  • by hal2814 (725639) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:47PM (#11497780)
    Lack of decent bandwidth and latency issues are costing wireless plans billions. WiFi's not the best thing on earth, but it sure beats the wireless broadband provided by Verizon. That money didn't belong to wireless providers to begin with. Another alternative could be that lack of hotspots costing WiFi programs billions since users are stuck with wireless in that case.
  • Bottled water companies lost $112bn to public water works agencies of cities and towns last year! I knew tap water was a communist subversion.

  • by Raindeer (104129) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:56PM (#11497868) Homepage Journal
    Whenever I hear discussions on Wifi hotspots I get the idea that we're building wifi connections the wrong way round. We're building wifi on the open road, that sometimes reaches into our houses/businesses. We could do it from the bottom up, based on the wifi access points in peoples houses.

    How hard would a standard be, which would make it possible to extend the official network of the ISP to a users access point, maybe with a VLAN solution. This way if I open up my laptop and there is an access point available of Joe User, I can only hook up to it by propperly logging in to the ISP's network or use the airport/credit card system. This will require many roaming agreements etc, but it would bring security and convenience at the same time. It should be done in such a way that the person opening up his network in this way can throttle the speed of the guest users and/or the times they can access. So I would like to see a rule like "Guests can only connect when I am not connecting" or "Guests only get 1mbit"
  • by serutan (259622) <snoopdoug AT geekazon DOT com> on Thursday January 27, 2005 @07:00PM (#11497905) Homepage
    I'll believe wireless carriers lose $12 billion when I see their gross revenue actually drop by $12 billion. As our massive experience with file downloads and other things has shown, many if not most of the people who use a free service either wouldn't use it if it weren't free, or are already paying for the same service from someone else anyway.

    I wish wireless carriers and others would grow up and quit whining when people figure out that their products and services can be had for free.
  • Let's face it, WiFi technology is still in it's infancy. When new technologies come to market, two things happen:
    1. The suppliers of a technology will try to make as much money as possible from the technology.
    2. The consumer of the technology will try and get the technology for as little as possible.

    Take the T-Mobile hotspot, for example. If you plan on using it a lot (and that's a lot of time spent at Starbucks), you can get away with spending a mere $29.99 a month. If you're not so sure, the price j

  • is to buy some legislation to outlaw these communistic "free" services so that the for-pay providers can make money, pay taxes, and help the economy (did I miss anything?). Let's get Dan Lyons to write a brilliant article about how the free hot-spots aren't as good as the for-pay ones...
  • by ewg (158266) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @07:11PM (#11498057)

    It's all a matter of perspective.

    The casino gaming industry talks about its "earnings", not "winnings", or heaven forbid, its customers' "losses".

  • On ebing asked whether they were using wireless or not "26% were unsure which technology they were using". Astonishing! Even my mother knows what wireless. Hell, even my father, who's never used a computer in his life (no exaggeration whatsoever!) could probably guess that if there are no wires coming out of it then it's probably wireless!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This reminds me of a very cool hotspot search engine. Dowza [dowza.com]. It lists free and paid hotspots with map, Google ads only.
  • Hooray, actually!

    Go figure. The needs of people are not being met by the current telco carriers. This is good for us as geeks.

    We can kinda see a similar pattern, in the way that the diversity of the technologies available are surpassing the market's ability to keep-up -- and unintended uses start to become a factor in these big market statistics. Old modems were like this at the time of 14.4Kbps and USR's 16.8Kbps HST protocols, as attempts to jam more bits through the same pipe. Then there became dig
  • ...well it does, doesn't it?!
  • Even if there was no WiFi, wireless carriers are pricing most data plans at such a level that I am pained to read text email on them, much less browse a single web page with images!

    Through some quirk of pricing, the T-Mobile T-Zones plan is not too expensive (a few $) and I can use my bluetooth phone to bring the network to my laptop, seemingly with no extra fees.

    If I want to add "web browsing" capability to the phone itself - why that is around $15-$20 a month more!!

    In short they are missing hardly any
  • Misleading Title (Score:5, Informative)

    by tom's a-cold (253195) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @08:04PM (#11498665) Homepage
    I spent $10 on a bottle of wine. So should the headline read "Wine purchase costs banana growers $10"?

    It's the same logic the RIAA and MPAA use, and it's fallacious.

    It's not their money. It's not being taken from them. It's not costing them shit. It's just diverting money they think should be theirs to other, more worthwhile. uses. But there's no real evidence that it ever would have been spent on what they have to sell, rather than saved, or spent on any other thing in the world that can be bought.

    These people's sense of entitlement to what they haven't earned is sickening. Bunch of corporate welfare scroungers. Next they'll go whining for the government to seize the money for them.

You can do this in a number of ways. IBM chose to do all of them. Why do you find that funny? -- D. Taylor, Computer Science 350

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