David Haskins writes a very good article on the “threath” of Wimax and 3G network to WiFi hotspots.
he makes a few very valid points:
– WiFi will still be the most common way to connect for the forseeable future. Accesible & affordable Wimax and 3G are still a long way away.
– WiFi client devices still outnumber and other form of access by far.
– Providers will most likely start offering bundles of wifi, cellular & wireline access.
– WiFi hotspot operators will have to start offering services in the future that will differentiate them from their competitors.
This last point is very significant. WiFi hotspots, by virtue of their localised coverage, lend themselves very well for location based services & advertising. A wifi hotspot can serve a user with information and offers directly relating to the users environment. If you’re in a city center it can tell you where the nearest bus-stop is, where to go for a quick lunch, what business or social groups are meeting where and when (Open Coffee Club anyone) etc…
It can also “push” discount vouchers at a user through a captive portal.
There is lots of opportunities here and room in the market for all technologies as long as the market is approached with an open mind.