UK leads Europe in Wi-Fi deployment

Britain has more publicly available Wi-Fi hotspots than anywhere else in Europe according to new research.

The research, by analysts BroadGroup Tariff Services, found that the majority of hotspots are in the UK, Germany and France - with the UK retaining the lead with 39 per cent of the market. The survey covered 139 service providers in 28 countries, including more than 350 offerings.

The survey suggests that as the market for Wi-Fi has matured operators are trying out a large variety of pricing models and seeing what works. The range of suppliers is also leading to big price differentials, with charges for 15 minutes access changing eightfold with different packages.

"Operators are using bundling more effectively, and have extended the validity period from 1-time log-in to multiple log-ins over different periods ranging from 24 hours up to 1 year."

The vast majority of all public Wi-Fi use is via prepaid tokens but Sessions saw rapid growth in the contract market, which now accounts for about a fifth of all users. Use of SMS to purchase Wi-Fi access is also on the rise.

The most common time purchase period is still 24 hours, accounting for 21 per cent of all time purchased. Prices here have remained relatively stable.