Free Wi-Fi is costing businesses both time and money
The direct and indirect costs related to mobile connectivity through cellular roaming, pay on demand Wi-Fi and free Wi-Fi is costing North American and European businesses at least £2.19 billion per year.
These costs result from mobile professionals’ insatiable need for connectivity and growing data consumption; mobile professionals in 2016 are estimated to be using on average 6GB of data per month when travelling and working ‘on the go’, the study from Rethink Technology Research for iPass, a provider of global mobile connectivity.
“Connectivity has never been more important. Whether mobile professionals are trying to be productive by day or connect to friends and family by night, there is a tangible need to be connected all the time,” said Patricia Hume, chief commercial officer of iPass. “The direct and indirect costs of keeping mobile professionals connected are more than many businesses realise, highlighting the need for businesses to have greater visibility into their employees’ data usage. Cost effective and secure connectivity is paramount, yet free Wi-Fi does not provide the simplicity and convenience that today’s mobile professionals require.”
The last 12 months has seen the continued growth of ‘free’ Wi-Fi. However, for many businesses, the term remains misleading. Free Wi-Fi connections are often slow, which prevent business applications from working properly, while also restricting the number of devices that can connect.
If you add this to the time mobile professionals spend seeking out and signing up to free Wi-Fi services, the negative impact on productivity soon adds up. The report suggests that the loss in productivity from free Wi-Fi can cost businesses between £578 and £874 per mobile professional each month, dependent on their location and destination.
The cost of connectivity varies for mobile professionals across both Europe and North America depending on the methods they use. When connecting predominantly via cellular, North American mobile professionals travelling internationally incur costs of £155 to £1,100 per month. French mobile professionals were the most negatively impacted when travelling outside of Europe, incurring costs of £1,034 to £1,553 per month. In comparison, costs for UK mobile professionals were £117 to £848 per month, and costs for German mobile professionals were £264 to £936.
When predominantly using cellular services within Europe, it would cost UK mobile professionals between £76 to £139 per month. In France and Germany, the costs were £64 to £262 and £92 to £130, respectively.
When it came to purchasing Wi-Fi on demand, UK mobile professionals incurred the greatest costs, using such services both inside (£143) and outside of Europe (£148) each month. For French mobile professionals, the costs were £115 and £135 each month; for German mobile professionals, it was £121 and £128 each month. Overall, North American mobile professionals fared better; it cost them £112 to use Wi-Fi on demand domestically and £112 outside the US each month.
Said Peter White, principal analyst and founder, Rethink Technology Research: “Although the costs of cellular roaming have been reduced, particularly in Europe, they still remain substantial when the amount of data used by a mobile professional is taken into account. Furthermore, piecemeal payment for Wi-Fi becomes expensive very quickly, and critically fails to provide the simplicity and convenience that users crave. Business leaders need to understand the value of providing secure, reliable and cost effective connectivity. This means ensuring their mobile workforce is connected via the right means, at any given time or location.”