WiFi

iPad “soars” on Boingo

by alec on April 7, 2010

There’s nothing like a good hack hook to grab media attention.  The latest news from Boingo Wireless does exactly that.  Reading iPad Now Second Most Popular Mobile WiFi Device in Boingo Airports, Apple’s Latest Market Changer Surpasses Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, the implication is that the four day old iPad is on such a tear that it has already garnered a dominant position on the Boingo network.  That impression is further reinforced by Boingo CEO Dave Hagan’s comment.  He says   “It’s stunning how quickly the iPad has established itself as a force in Wi-Fi.  After four days in market, it is already being more widely used than other Wi-Fi enabled mobile devices that have moved millions of units.”

And the best part?  It’s all true.

What you find out as you read further into the release is that nearly 90% of Boingo Mobile usage is iPhone, iPad accounts for 5.4%, and the rest is Android, BlackBerry and so on.  This release is more about about the abject failure of Apple’s competitors to carve out market share than anything else.

iPad may still turn out to be a game changer.  Just not in 4 paltry days.

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Boingo’s sponsored Wi-Fi program caught my eye earlier this week.  I’m a student of marketing programs, especially when quantitative measurement is involved. Boingo claims to have increased revenues by up to 35% at selected airports by allowing sponsors to subsidize internet access for travellers.  The program requires the user to watch 30 seconds of advertising video in exchange for 15 to 20 minutes of complimentary internet access.  Other opportunities exist to interact with the sponsor as well, including the welcome screen, a decision page and so on.  At the end of the free period, the customer can then choose to continue by buying a Boingo day-pass, or finish up.  Sponsors are reporting an astounding 39% click-through rate.

According to Boingo’s press release, the promotional campaigns “… have been sponsored by national hotel chains that wanted to communicate key amenities to a highly targeted audience, by leading search providers that wanted to fuel trials of their newly launched search tool, and by consumer electronics manufacturers whose products are targeted at early adopters.”  In other words, if you’re a business traveller, stuck in an airport, and need Wi-Fi access for a few minutes, then Boingo’s sponsors might actually be delivering relevant products and services for you.

A long time Boingo subscriber myself, I checked into my own usage, and discovered that 28% of my Boingo sessions are under 20 minutes in length.  It wouldn’t make sense for me to switch to their pay-as-you-go model because of the volume of my usage. However, if I was a casual user then watching a short video about a relevant product in order to gain access to a few minutes of internet usage might be very attractive.  After all, in 20 minutes you could easily synch your email, download a few songs or television episodes to watch on the flight, or grab a specific piece of needed information from a web site.

And who can argue with a 39% click-through rate?

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Squawk Box August 13

August 13, 2008

Chrysler is intending to sell a mobile EVDO router for the car. Their idea is that you can turn your car into a mobile hotspot. Our group panned it to start, but then as we discussed it more, it seemed like there might be uses – tracking traffic, navigation and many more possibles.  Of course, […]

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SquawkBox – Tuesday, July 8, 2008 – WiFi in cars and wearable computing

July 9, 2008

Do we really want to turn our cars into rolling WiFi hotspots? Will this be a boon to the “always-on” culture or just yet another source of driver distraction? And do we really want wearable computers that involve us answering a phone by sticking a finger in our ear? On today’s Squawk Box we’ll journey […]

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Squawk Box June 26 – Jazinga

June 26, 2008

Jon Arnold subbed for me today, interviewing Jazinga co-founder Shidan Gouran.  Jazinga’s combination WiFi router / PBX promises to be one of the more revolutionary SMB telephony devices to hit the market in years. No doubt there’s a lot of interest in the product.  22 people joined the call including Larry Greenfield, Steve Lecomte, Dan […]

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Squawk Box June 6

June 6, 2008

* AT&T’s release yesterday of their NetReach bundle. Starting at $79.95 per month it gives you residential DSL, WiFi access at 17,000 US hotspots, and 3G data access. Competitively priced, apparently, but a game changer? Maybe not.
* Paul McGuiness, manager of U2, blames ISPs, handset manufacturers, and pretty much the whole world for the destruction of the music industry… this in a year when U2 made $355 million touring. We agree that he lives in an irony free zone.
* Verizons acquisition of Alltel for $27 billion!
* Jerry Yang and Carl ICahn? ICahn has been railing against Yahoo’s board, and publicly said that Yang is done if ICahn gets his way. We’re not very sympathetic to Yang’s plight.
* Windows XP gets rescued again… for some classes of device. Is the mantle of “cockroach OS” passing from DOS finally? Most on the call are still running XP, and many see themselves switching to a Mac when it comes time to upgrade. Ouch!
* Time Warner’s metered internet use trial. Om Malik says it’s the thin edge of the wedge. Calculations showed that the metered bandwidth was just enough to provide a non-compelling video experience. The call was full of Canadians who observed that we already have metered bandwidth usage in this country.
* And for grins, we did a roundup of the latest iPhone rumours including the infamous box shot from Australia…

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Know where the WiFi is

June 4, 2008

From Paris France, Andy writes about the rise of complimentary WiFi this morning. He says his broadband speeds are better than hotels, and all he needed was a code from the waiter. Like Andy, I’ve been choosing to leave my hotel for broadband access. Hotel broadband has become unreliable, ports are blocked frequently, and I’m […]

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Connectivity while travelling is getting worse, not better.

May 19, 2008

When I got my first laptop in 1993 it was an immensely liberating experience.  A Compaq 386sx machine, running Windows for Workgroups, it enabled me to be productive literally anywhere.  With a synchronized copy of my inbox on the hard disk, I would plow through hundreds of emails while on planes, in airports, at conferences.  […]

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Squawk Box May 5th

May 5, 2008

Yahoo and Microsoft’s dead deal. How could we not think of discussing it? And so we did. We discussed the possibility of shareholder lawsuits, the price of the shares, morale at both companies, and whether or not the executives involved should keep their jobs. We also heard from Jim Courtney about the ground breaking announcement […]

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iSkoot and passwords in the clear

April 27, 2008

I awoke yesterday morning to mail from PhoneBoy telling me that iSkoot is passing passwords in the clear, unencrypted. He put a packet-trace on his WiFi router, and used the Nokia N95 to access iSkoot via WiFi rather than the way it is more usually accessed which is over the air. This morning he has […]

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