Boingo will charge $39/€29 per month for unlimited use at all its locations worldwide: Boingo has long had to explain its North America versus the world policy for its $22 per month offering. That option--which will be retained for those who spend their time domestically--includes all usage within the US and Canada, but quite a bit of the worldwide service was metered.
The new plan extends Boingo Unlimited worldwide as Boingo Global. Both month-by-month offerings are renewed automatically until canceled--without penalty. Sign ups can happen on Boingo's site or at two partners: Hub Télécom in France and Oslo Lufthavn Tele & Data AS (OLTD) in Norway, two key airport network operators. Boingo operates service under the Concourse name in several major U.S. airports.
The point of airport-based signups is that you can download the client and signup immediately, gaining access with your first session at the monthly unlimited price. Not everyone plans ahead, or is aware of this kind of service option.
Boingo has also replaced its more "heavy weight" software package with GoBoingo, a simpler utility that has a smaller download footprint. The software handles network identification and log in. It's available initially for Windows only. Partnerships in Germany, Italy, and the UK are coming later this year.
This is going to gut completely the high charge for Wi-Fi in Europe. It's not going to be sustainable. Why would you pay €20 or even £20 a day for hotel Internet access when Boingo will offer you a month's unlimited use for about the same? Why would you pay £6 an hour in the UK or the ludicrous Scandinavian prices? The Cloud told the International Herald Tribune that they were moving towards a flat-rate plan as well for their 8,500 locations (7,000 in the UK).
I have written for years that for-fee Wi-Fi hotspots would ultimately cost about $20 per month or be free. The former has been true for a while in the US with various plans running $20 to $50 per month for unlimited access on networks of 8,000 to 30,000 locations in the U.S.
The free part was when you get to a point where Wi-Fi is just a service that's thrown in for customer loyalty, like AT&T's $2 per month inclusion of 15,000 locations for its DSL customers--people they're already billing, and want to give a value add that reduces the $100s spent for customer churn and acquisition.
The free part also comes when the cost is low enough that your employer just picks up the tab because it's worth giving you constant access instead of nickeling-and-diming, or it actually substantially reduces their cost of your roaming.
I asked a Boingo spokesperson whether this plan involves changes in contracts with their customers, as the voice calling plan Boingo Mobile did. (That plan offers worldwide unlimited VoIP over Wi-Fi for $8 per month, but in a select and growing number of locations.) He said it did not; that Boingo has monitored usage very closely, and they can continue to pay existing session and other rates to their aggregated partners, while using a single fee to their customers.
Boingo now claims 100,000 contracted hotspots worldwide of which they said over 60,000 are currently integrated in the network, and the remainder are due to be so within roughly 90 days.