A new study from TeleAnalytics concludes that business travelers are increasingly using Wi-Fi while the consumer market is growing much slower: The study tallies the number of hotels around the world that offer Wi-Fi and also looks at airport, hotel, and consumer hotspot usage. The study found that Wi-Fi use in airports has grown more than 350 percent in a six-month period. While that growth isn't expected to be sustainable, it only represents a fraction of the people who pass through airports so additional growth is likely. The study also found plenty of consumer hotspots with less than seven sessions per week and overall usage growth in the consumer segment doesn't surpass a 50 percent year-to-year increase.
The findings make sense. Currently, many of the for-pay hotspots cost more than most consumers would be willing to pay. Also, such hotspots offer more for the business user who can use the access to get their jobs done. Consumers have a less critical need for the service and may need more of an incentive, especially if they're asked to pay for it. As the market matures, I expect operators that try to target the consumer market will begin making special content offerings or loyalty programs that will encourage more use.