In-Stat MDR has reported that wireless access point growth outstripped projections during 2003, reaching more than 40,000 locations , even as “usage of hotspots continues to lag.” The lack of usage revolve specifically around the average revenue per user and number of times a year that travelers used public access points.
The average user surveyed by In-Stat spent $12.10 a month on wireless hotspot access and logged onto a wireless network only six times during the year (which doesn’t jibe with the average price per connection I’ve seen, around $6.50 per day). In any case, the news is good for computer users, because they can connect more places, but it also points to a potential glut of connectivity from the network providers’ perspective.
At the root of the usage issue is what the right price for a connection might be. Network providers are selling full days at $5.95 to $12.95, and that price range is skewed to high based on the lower ARPU they are realizing. But, we might also see fractions of a day or hourly connectivity in the one to two dollar range, which would be more attractive to users passing through an airport or another hotspot during the day.