J.D Power study shows internet usage is top problem experienced by hotel guests

J.D. Power recently published the results of their 2013 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study The study, now in its 17th year, measures overall guest satisfaction across eight hotel segments and examines seven key factors to determine overall satisfaction.

One of the study’s significant findings: “While Internet usage during a hotel stay continues to steadily increase, it remains the top problem experienced by guests”. Among guests who experienced a problem during their hotel stay,

· 31% had an issue with their Internet service in terms of connection and/or speed

Interestingly, overall satisfaction among guests who experienced difficulties connecting to the Internet was lower than among those who did not have problems, whether Internet access was included in the room rate or not.”

Tell us about hotel Wi-Fi – is it secure, slow, too expensive? (24% of respondents indicated paying more than $30 for one-time connection!).

The 2013 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study is based on responses gathered between July 2012 and May 2013 from more than 68,700 guests. #credible!

iPass Mobile Workforce report

iPass recently published their Q2 2013 Mobile Workforce Report. Read without the Executive Summary and Conclusion (which no doubt have been tailored for iPass’s needs) the report makes some damming revelations about the use of public Wi-Fi by mobile executives.

One would not argue that mobile workers work longer hours and are using remote connectivity to be more productive.

One might argue with the sentiment that “ because Wi-Fi is fast, generally reliable and sometimes free, mobile workers often search first for a Wi-Fi signal”.

The report itself later states, “ Wi-Fi has its own challenges, of course, such as availability, price and ease of use”. Unpacking the data highlights

· Only 14% of mobile workers have never paid for Wi-Fi access

· More than 24% have paid $30 or more for one-time access to Wi-Fi

· Hotels and airports are the main perpetrators of excessive Wi-Fi fees (captive audience)

· When Wi-Fi is unavailable or expensive it can negatively impact productivity

The bigger issue is of course productivity. With 75% of mobile workers working more than 45 hours a week and 66% spending 1-3 days out of the office, the correlations between remote connectivity and productivity is evident. In the light of global trends such as Cloud Computing and Collaboration, it would be remiss to examine the relationship more intently. The report indicates

· 40% of mobile workers work from airplanes or coffee shops

· Additionally 29% work on public transportation

· Less than half (49%) felt “more productive” when working in a hotel

· More than 70% of mobile workers described themselves as “less productive” in public places

Besides the obvious concerns over data security when working in public Wi-Fi Hotspots, environmental noise, lack of privacy and space and poor connectivity are touted as reasons why this might be the case.

Astounding, against this backdrop of lower productivity, 85% assume Wi-Fi will be available and actively seek it out with 71% researching Wi-Fi before embarking on a trip.

It seems the need to be connected is of utmost importance and to improve productivity, the alternatives for remote connectivity must seriously be considered.

Wi-Fi Roaming – are we there yet?

Hotspot 2.0, Passpoint and Next-Generation Hotspots are various standardisation initiatives already undertaken by GSMA and WBA. These are designed to make it easier for SIM-based authentication on Wi-Fi networks, as well as enabling mobile operators to uniquely and securely identify users.

SIM-based authentication is an operator requirement as they need to off-load traffic onto Wi-Fi networks due their own congested infrastructure and the cost of rolling out further capacity.

By putting WRIX (Wireless Roaming Intermediary Exchange) standards into the mix with the existing GPRS Roaming Exchange architecture, mobile operators are well placed to offer SIM-based authentication and strike roaming agreements between different industry players.

WRIX standards cover areas such as roaming onto public Wi-Fi hotspots, as well as financial aspects, such as settlement and clearing.

The Goal: to allow mobile users use of Wi-Fi networks without having to log-on or worry about security whilst providing lower cost data access which will appear on the users mobile phone bill.

Standardisation work, however, is far from complete. The focus for 2013 is on seamless session continuity between Wi-Fi and cellular. There are however no commercial deployments of this and appear a way off.

To help drive roaming standardisation, the WBA announced yesterday at the Wi-Fi Global Congress its inaugural ‘Wi-Fi Roamfest’, with over 145 organisations participating.

The event provided an environment where operators and service providers could connect and reach agreements for Wi-Fi roaming and related services. Interest in the area, says WBA, has recently been fuelled by its Interoperability Compliance Program, an initiative launched in 2012 that is designed to streamline the way members work together on a common set of technical and commercial frameworks for Wi-Fi roaming.

It seems the list of standards is growing, yet much has to be done before the mobile user will see any benefits or reduction in roaming bills.

Multiple blows for mobile operators

Whether it is instant messaging or Over The Top (OTT) voice, mobile operators will feel the effects of outlaying vast capital sums for supreme network coverage and data speeds with very little revenue in return, instead providing a platform for service providers to rapidly capture significant revenue.

Forecasts from the global analyst firm reveal that OTT VoIP will cost the global telecoms industry $479bn in lost cumulative revenues by 2020, which represents 6.9% of cumulative total voice revenues. So whilst over-the-top (OTT) VoIP services are not about to replace traditional telephony, they will have a marked impact on telcos’ revenues over the next eight years. Fortunately for the operators in South Africa the quality and ubiquity of reliable 3G services has prevented widespread adoption of these services and will continue so until the network data throughput supports this service.

The upsurge in instant cheap – or free – instant messaging is also becoming a problem for mobile operators who are expected to lose $54 billion in SMS revenue in the next four years, also according to Global research company Ovum.

Ovum’s emerging markets analyst, Richard Hurst, says “in all fairness”, local operators have seen this SMS threat coming for a long time. He points to Mxit – a concept conceived as far back as 2003, as a platform that has evolved into a major IM player in SA. Mxit currently has 40m subscribers and still no movement from the operators on pricing.The operators are dependent on cross-platform failure and the public’s fear of internet security which drives banking and other notification services to use traditional SMS services and in the main will continue to preserve some revenue.

SO how will operators react. Ovum recommends that operators develop or deploy applications that link cloud services with telephony usage. They need to provide content, relationships, and history within a service, irrespective of device or access method. Very importantly, Ovum also sees the continued existence of the telephone number as a key asset for telcos as it is central to their relationships with their customers.

“The major threat posed by OTT VoIP is that it weakens customers’ attachment to their telephone number and transfers their attachment to a new address. This may turn out to be a more significant factor than the direct impact on telephony revenues,” explains Green. “Operators should use telephone numbers as the identifier and address for cloud-based services, allow customers to choose numbers that are relevant to them, and develop more application-to-person SMS applications.”

execMobile offers global first data roaming solution

Source: African Business Review

26 May 2013 Sheree Hanna

A leading South African supplier of cost-effective solutions for using mobile phone and internet abroad offers post-paid roaming services which can knock 98 percent off bills for business travellers.

execMobile now offers mobile executives convenient, cost effective mobile data roaming as a post-paid service, reducing the cost of data connectivity by as much as 98 percent when travelling outside South Africa.

Total cost control is delivered over a real time global mobile platform to completely eliminate data roaming “bill shock”.

Craig Lowe, execMobile founder, said the solutions are targeted at executives who have to travel overseas regularly and need solutions which are both convenient and reduce the average international data cost of around R100 per MB.

execMobile offers corporates the options of “arrive connected” convenience in 74 countries or a data bundle service which offers greater coverage in 128 countries at even better rates. All services are billed at month end with no fixed monthly costs.

Lowe said: “The international data market is a $45 billion dollar industry and 67 percent of the market is made up by corporate employees who travel overseas and need to be connected from wherever they are.

“Around 5.2 million people travel out of South Africa every year, of which 505 000 are business travelers, where time and convenience are extremely important.”

The international per MB price of data is so high because the foreign mobile network determines around 80 percent of the cost for users wanting to roam onto their network.

Lowe said the reason execMobile is able to offer such a markedly lower price is due to the various partners they are working with who have negotiated near local rates in various countries. execMobile has built a management platform to control roaming subscribers and offer them cost reduction, control and above all convenience.

“Local data costs will always be cheaper, but that requires buying a SIM card in that country or using WiFi where available. The SIM might require a RICA-equivalent process and will require the user to forfeit their mobile number and modify their device settings,” Lowe said.

“For leisure travellers this is generally not a problem as they have the time to do this. However, for an executive who has time constraints, needs secure Internet access on multiple devices (laptop, smartphone, tablet) and may travel to multiple countries (multiple SIMs required), this becomes problematic.”

execMobile’s PocketWifi offers their Global or Giga SIM which is placed into a wireless router to allow up to five devices to be connected to it at one time, eliminating these obstacles and offering convenience and savings.

Lowe said this is particularly important for BlackBerry users as BIS and BES services may not be available with the foreign SIM. However, by connecting the BlackBerry wirelessly to the PocketWifi, all BlackBerry services will continue to work, which is important given that 80 percent of South African corporates run BlackBerry services.

The wireless router is also an important security feature for corporate as their employees don’t have to use Wi-Fi networks in public places and the user has to use a secure password to access the router.

execMobile’s solutions have no monthly contract fees and users are simply billed for any data or data bundles consumed in the period. “Users are only sent a bill for the month in which they use the data card, making it the easiest way to stay connected when travelling overseas,” he added.

Link: http://www.africanbusinessreview.co.za/money_matters/execmobile-offers-global-first-data-roaming-solution

Data roaming the new growth area

Posted by IT-Online on Nov 21, 2012

Mobile data roaming revenues will grow by 21% per year between 2012 and 2017, reaching over $35-billion in 2017, driven by an increasing number of active data roamers using data services while abroad.

This is according to a new report from Juniper Research, which also notes that the number of silent data roamers, not actively using any data services, still fear bill shock, as this continues to be markedly higher when compared to silent voice roamers.

Silent roamers exercise caution or do not use voice and data services while roaming and represent a non-user segment.

Powered by the proliferation in smartphones and a dramatic growth in data usage, data roaming is being seen as a key growth driver for operators, albeit with cost-effective packages coupled with subscriber control over usage.

The report found that the majority of mobile customers were using voice services when roaming abroad, but this offered network operators little opportunity to add value or enhance services. Data roaming, on the other hand, provided operators with the opportunity to convert “non data” roamers to become active data roamers by the introduction of data bundles and roaming plans.

The new report, “Mobile Roaming: Challenges, Opportunities & Market Forecasts 2012-2017”, observes that, as data roaming revenues grow, and instant messaging apps proliferate, SMS roaming adoption and revenue growth will remain modest, relative to data and voice revenues.

Report author Nitin Bhas notes: “As data roaming costs are further reduced and smartphone owners find so-called OTT (over-the-top) services – such as eBuddy and Whatsapp – a cheaper alternative, the average spend per SMS roaming will decline over the forecast period.”

The Juniper report also finds that total mobile roaming revenues are set to exceed $80-billion by 2017, compared to over $46-billion this year.

Western Europe will account for the highest proportion of the global mobile data roaming revenue.

WiFi charging model change

MWEB will soon be changing the existing Wi-Fi Hotspot offering from a Minutes based model to a Megabyte based model**. This means you’ll receive 300 Megabytes of Wi-Fi Data for FREE* each month instead of getting 300 Free* minutes of Wi-Fi, once you have been migrated onto the new model. You will still be able to use your Wi-Fi data at any MWEB approved Wi-Fi hotspot locations available countrywide. MWEB will be migrating customers onto the new Wi-Fi model between 4 December 2012 – 15 January 2013.