Waikiki, Hawaii, is a hotbed of hotspots in paradise: But roaming issues are a sticking point for users, networks, and the local accommodation association. Roaming may be less of an issue across the Lower 48, where networks sit cheek to jowl in some urban areas and are spread far apart in others: there's more flexibility to choose networks that have the best plan and fit into your budget and travel plans.
Waikiki is developing what seems like an overabundance of networks, none of which--according to this article--have roaming agreements. That's annoying and confusing to visitors, and it doesn't truly help grow the networks' use which is what the hotspot operators seem to be focused on: roaming increases use by decreasing cost per use. It's how the Internet grew, folks. More points of access at lower cost equals more usage thus repaying a network's costs more quickly than an island (pun intended) of access. There's an adjustment period where high daily rates aren't offset by more use, but users get retrained and it starts to balance out.
There's also the free versus fee issue: a Seattle visitor chose his hotel for free Wi-Fi over two with $10 per day Internet rates. The article doesn't mention the room rate: was the free hotel also cheaper in that regard? It often is.