WiFi hotspot operators: Boingo, Trustive, iPass, T-Mobile
The largest Wi-Fi hotspot providers have slightly different business strategies and different prices.
The above table provides a summary of the more well known WiFi hotspot operators. As always the devil is in the details; roaming agreements, roaming charges, definitions of “unlimited” and “premium location charges” can dramatically alter any comparisons. Thus dont read too much into the above table. A more indepth description of selected operators is provided below.
When Boingo began setting up hotspots in the 1990s, they probably thought they would become richer, faster, than they have. Free hotspots and new competitors have dampened those hopes – and eliminated competitors – but Boingo is still the largest hotspot roaming aggregator, totalling 60,000 locations for laptops and mobile devices. The Boingo Unlimited plan costs US$21.95 a month. The Boingo AsYouGo plan costs US$7.95 per 24-hour Connect Day. Boingo Mobile, for US$7.95, allows unlimited Wi-Fi access in more than 60 countries around the world.
Trustive claims to be Europe’s largest hotspot provider. Their network covers over 20,000 hotspots, connecting more than 60 European networks, including The Cloud, SFR, KPN Hotspots and Vodafone Italia, and provising service at all major airports in the European Union. Their prepaid service starts at € 30 (US$40) for 275 minutes. Per-minute, that’s about 10.9 Euro cents or 15 US cents. The Trustive 40 subscription plan costs € 40 (US$54) for 450 minutes, only 8.9 Euro cents per minute. The Trustive P100 corporate plan costs € 100 (US$135) per month, but allows five accounts to share 1,050 minutes, at 9.5 Euro cents per minute.
iPass offers a unified, secure login that makes it possible to safely connect to the corporate network (and to the Internet) in over 160 countries, from more than 78,000 Wi-Fi hotspot locations. Eleven companies resell iPass’s service in the US, including Sayers, iRoam Mobile Solutions, and Central House Internet, whose Individual Global Roaming Account has a US$10 setup fee, plus a US$8.95 monthly service charge, plus US$2.40 per minute. Their unlimited monthly plan for US customers costs US$58.00 per month. In the UK, iPass’s resellers include Azzurri Communications, Boxing Orange, Inclarity, and Managed Security Solutions Ltd.
T-Mobile, owned by Deutsche Telekom, provides more than 45,000 hotspots worldwide. For US subscribers, that includes 7,897 T-Mobile HotSpot locations. But T-Mobile is part of the FreeMove alliance, along with Orange, TeliaSonera and Telecom Italia Mobile, so add another 37,000 roaming locations in 25 countries. But US subscribers have to pay roaming charges to use them. In the UK, T-Mobile’s 2,000 hotspots are located at major UK airports, Starbuck coffee shops, Texaco petrol stations, and Sheraton hotels. With a 12 month contract, you can get unlimited T-Mobile access for US$29.99 per month, but the price goes up if you travel outside the US. An unlimited Day Pass costs $9.99. Pay as You Go costs $6.00 per login for the first 60 minutes, $0.10 per minute thereafter whether or not the minutes are fully used.