How would Pinoy Wi-Fi users and providers like the idea of more spots offering free public Wi-Fi access? Will it make or break businesses? Will it incur more expenses or more profits?
As it is, the idea of providing patrons and customers free Wi-Fi access is still a new thing in some if not all cities across the country. Save a few big malls, cafes, and other modish shops that offer it to lure more people in, most business outfits are still undecided (or uncomfortable?) about offering free Wi-Fi, or perhaps offer anything free for that matter.
But the prospects are limitless. Offering free Wi-Fi connections can pour in profits in the context of ad-sponsored Wi-Fi access giveaways. A whole new opportunity will be opened for tech advertisers to reach new clientele who have the means to buy but are hard to reach. And this can propel free Wi-Fi providers to untold lucrative heights.
JiWire-AWG: Case Study in the US
Public Wi-Fi networks for Internet access are fast becoming available in the US and most of them are offered for free. In fact, reports from Mobile Insights published by JiWire say more than 81 percent of public Wi-Fi sources can be freely accessed now. Consequently, the demand for free Wi-Fi access grows drastically at a rate that may soon exceed the number of available free Wi-Fi access.
As a result, JiWire announced its more extensive partnership with Advanced Wireless Group (AWG), which is the leader in providing free Wi-Fi access in US airports. The partnership aims to further widen the availability of free Wi-Fi connections in airports all over the country. These are ad-supported wireless connections.
Giving Ads More Access to a Potential Audience
This partnership enables advertisers to access about 290 million plus travelers and customers in major airports in the entire USA. Since these people are potential customers and always use the Internet through free access while waiting for a ride at the airport, why not invite advertisers to access them through the free Wi-Fi connection offered?
The joint project is seen by many as a key pillar in the location data and mobile audience platform of JiWire, combining mobile media and Wi-Fi. JiWire is deemed by major sectors as a leader in mobile advertising done on a per location basis. Anticipating a major increase in the need for high speed and free Internet access, JiWire put its relationship with AWG on a higher level. And many experts view this calculated step as wise, what with the rapidly growing smartphones and tablet users in the US majority of whom always opt for free public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Industry researches being conducted regularly confirm that Wi-Fi is the most favored free-access technology especially demanded by mobile device users. The JiWire-AWG tandem couldn’t have been timelier. And the free service can easily be sustained by the platform’s attraction to advertisers who constantly look for ways to reach potential customers.
Managing Free Networks are Actually More Profitable
Paid networks may seem lucrative but it actually makes less money than free ones. Some experts say merely less than 1 percent of people using paid networks actually use the Net. Whereas about 10 times that number (or even more) prefer and actually use the Net through free networks, using about more than 20 times the bandwidth.
No wonder the number of passengers who request the use of free Wi-Fi in airports—and no wonder why this is fast becoming the favorite strategy of more businesses and advertisers, and the increasing number of top tier venues that want to link up with AWG. More and more airports are making the transition in this regard.
What about the Philippine Context?
Imagine if all airports and train stations (MRT, LRT, and PNR) were all free wireless Internet hotspots, and add to that, all aircon buses plying both Metropolitan Manila and provincial routes? Add to this the fact that Filipinos are among techie and gadget-using people in the world. They buy gadgets costing beyond their means. Imagine how advertisers would rush in to be counted as ad-sponsors and pour investments to this new project. This will definitely raise money to improve airports and transportation in general and also promote tourism.