Public WLan to expand

The public wireless local area network (PWLan) market is finally showing signs of taking off.

The public wireless local area network (PWLan) market is finally showing signs of taking off.

A recent survey by market analyst Analysys suggests that the total spend on PWLan services in the US and Western Europe together forecast to reach around €4.7bn (£3.2bn) by 2009.

Senior analyst Ariel Dajes, author of Analysys Research’s new report Viable Business Models Point to Big Opportunities for Public WLan, believes that there is still substantial growth potential in this area.

Although the business traveller still continues to drive this immature market, the report suggests that it is imperative that PWLan service providers expand to new customer segments.

“We expect that by 2009 there will be at least as many residential customers as business ones,” said Dajes. “In the US, teenagers are already used to having private WLans at home and they expect to have the same facilities in restaurants and cafés. The European market has yet to experience this move.

Expansion must be enabled by the development of devices and key applications, such as voice, and the ubiquity of network availability, and charging strategies are also expected to mature, moving away from prepaid scratch cards to technology-agnostic bundles of PWLan services offered with broadband connections or mobile data services, or post-paid subscription packages., he said.

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