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March 25, 2008

Wi-Fi drives wireless data

by Matthew

In a recent post on Mobile Messaging 2.0, Evan Spence writes how Wi-Fi drives better 3G. I would take it a step further and say that is does more than drive better data services is drives data services period.

Once a user becomes accustom to having data on their device whenever Wi-Fi is available, they will start using data more often when Wi-Fi is not available. Take myself as an example, before having a Wi-Fi enabled handset I would use data like any good geek. When Wi-Fi came into play I found that I began to use data more and more away from Wi-Fi access points. At first the usage was light, which over time has grown considerably. No doubt 3G would drive that even more however, 3G is not a requirement to drive more data usage.

When T-Mobile USA began offering their Total Internet package for $10 more a month that included HotSpot service it angered many users. Why should someone be required to spending more for a service they didn't use? I am one of the minorities that do not drink coffee, meaning i do not ever visit a Starbucks, the primary location of T-Mobile's HotSpot service. HotSpot added no value to my service while adding $10 a month to my bill however, given the above revelation it does shed new light on T-Mobile's strategy. I am glad to report T-Mobile has long since dropped the price back to the former $19.99 while keeping HotSpot in the deal.

There is no doubt Wi-Fi causes users to want even demand better wireless data services. I argue that it drives data services in its own right. Has Wi-Fi changed your habits or has wireless data driven you to Wi-Fi? Maybe they symbiotic, each driving the other.

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