Can telcos really make money out of WiFi? Part 1

WiFi is everywhere, and nowadays, people are used to connecting to WiFi in all kinds of places. But since they’re also used to connecting to it for free, it’s natural to wonder how CSPs can actually make money out of WiFi.

So, what are some of the different opportunities WiFi can offer operators to obtain new revenues beyond their customer base?

1. Sell WiFi passes – Now that almost everyone has a 3G/4G connection and can connect to WiFi for free at places like bars, restaurants, and other locations, will people actually be willing to pay for WiFi?  Of course!

There are still many occasions when people will pay for access such as the subscriber who has used up or gone over her data allowance, the new neighbor who is still waiting for his broadband to be set up, or the tourist who wants to communicate with family back home but also wants to avoid high roaming charges.

And these users are likely to feel better about connecting to a secure network from a well-known provider as opposed to a public WiFi network with questionable security.

Need proof? Check out our BT success story.

2. Grant free access to non-subscribers in exchange for contact details – The information provided by these users can be leveraged in future customer acquisition campaigns.

3. Offer sponsored WiFi at specific locations or eventsTake advantage of the captive portal and use it as a virtual billboard.  Your partners can pay you to use that space to sponsor their products and services at specific events.

Think of a music festival, for example. Why not provide free WiFi there, but come to an agreement with the beverage company who can pay you to advertise their special deals on the captive portal? Anytime someone wants to connect to the network, the beverage company will count on a new impression.

WiFi monetization example from Fon

4. Sell wholesale WiFi Access to device manufacturers This is a new source of revenue that will also put operators in a unique position within the IoT ecosystem.

Here’s a look at how this can be done.

And these are just some of the ways that operators can earn revenue from WiFi. Stay tuned for future posts where we’ll discuss other new potential revenue sources for CSPs!

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