London, 31 January 2005 – In its latest survey of Wi-Fi service pricing in Asia by BroadGroup, the London based consultancy, the results reveal an increase in pricing across popular time bands for the first time.
In its latest report, Asia Wi-Fi, by BroadGroup, prices for highly used time band categories reveal often significant increases. Where Asia has been defined by the relative cheapness of Wi-Fi access, compared to elsewhere, the latest findings show that the trend has now been reversed.
The average price for 30-days usage has risen by more than 72% although this equates to approximately one-third of the same-category price in Europe. More operators now include a one-month offering. Australia – which has the highest number of competitors - is the most expensive country in the one-month category. Japan, Singapore and New Zealand offered the most competitive rates for one-month pricing. Singapore features the second highest number of competitors.
Overall. Australia is the most expensive country in the region across a range of Wi-Fi service offerings. The survey also found that Australia offered a very wide band of tariff plans and timeband categories suggesting that service providers are still attempting to achieve uniqueness through the price. Although Australia’s laggard position in the adoption of monthly pricing plans is now being reversed, actual usage time during the monthly scheme remains restricted and no offers of unlimited usage are available.
Korea remains the leader in wireless hotspot deployment with an increase of 38% between June and December of 2004. Japan has also more than doubled the number of hotspots during the same period. Overall the region increased its hotspot deployment by 61%. More than 71% of all hotspots are controlled by fixed line incumbents and mobile operators.
Prepayment dominates the method of payment for Wi-Fi service end users, although an increase has occurred in pay-as-you-go. PCCW Netvigator in Hong Kong offer the cheapest PAYG plan for 24-hour access across the survey.
“What the report strongly suggests is that a shift is occurring in Wi-Fi businesses across the region” commented Mark Langworth, research consultant at BroadGroup. “Control of hotspots deployed still remains largely in the hands of incumbents and mobile operators, and because of the bias towards Korea they are predominantly located in North East Asia. However the Singapore and Australian markets demonstrate increasing competition.”
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