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iPass Launches Wi-Fi Hotspot Index
Posted: 07-Mar-2007 [Source: iPass]

[iPass Wi-Fi data shows airports continued to dominate overall usage accounting for half of all sessions around the world.]

Redwood Shores, CA -- -iPass, Inc., a global provider of services that unify management of enterprise mobility, today introduced the first edition of the iPass Wi-Fi Hotspot Index. Key findings include which airport hotspots around the world have been used most by business travelers, what countries and cities have experienced the fastest growth in Wi-Fi usage, and what types of retail venues have been most frequented for hotspot use.

The iPass Wi-Fi Hotspot Index is a report that summarizes session(a) data collected by iPass across its base of approximately 1,000,000 quarterly users, and is designed as a tool for those interested in Wi-Fi connectivity trends, including reporters, analysts and researchers. With a network consisting of more than 76,000 hotspots in 68 countries, and over 3,000 business customers, including more than 350 companies in the Forbes Global 2000, iPass offers a unique global perspective into the use of Wi-Fi hotspots by enterprise mobile workers.

"Easy access to the Internet and corporate networks through hotspots is dramatically changing the way we work, live and communicate. The fragmentation of the hotspot industry has made getting timely and globally comprehensive information difficult," said Yankee Group analyst, Sandra Palumbo. "Sources such as iPass' Wi-Fi Hotspot Index provide quantitative information and trends on how and where business users are connecting."

Europe Grows Fastest

Around the world, Wi-Fi hotspot usage grew 44 percent from the first half of 2006 to the second half. During that time, Europe was the fastest growing region at 74 percent, and accounted for 31 percent of global sessions --up from 26 percent in the first half of the year. This growth was led by Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, all of which grew by 75 percent or greater. While North America sessions grew 33 percent, its global share fell from 64 percent to 59 percent of worldwide user sessions. The Asia Pacific region accounted for 7 percent of all sessions, down slightly from 8 percent in the first half of the year.

The United States saw the most iPass Wi-Fi sessions in the second half of 2006, followed by the UK, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Of the top 10 countries, Australia had the highest session growth rate, nearly tripling usage between the two halves of the year. Other fast-growing countries included Austria with a 191 percent increase and South Africa with a 155 percent increase.

Airports are Still King

Hotspots in airports continued to dominate usage overall, accounting for virtually half of all sessions around the world. The average airport location generated an average of 3,000 sessions over the period, over 100 times more than the average hotel, cafe or retail location. International gateway airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick airports in London and John F. Kennedy airport in New York City tended to have longer sessions than the average.

While airports still deliver the most sessions, hotel usage outgrew airport usage for the period, growing at a rate of 60 percent vs. 40 percent for airports. Hotel sessions were also much longer than those for airports, averaging over two hours as compared to 41 minutes.

As for retail hotspot venues (excluding airports and hotel hotspots), the top cities were London, Singapore, New York, Chicago, Houston, Tokyo, San Francisco, Dallas, San Jose and Miami. Cafe chains such as Starbucks and Caffe Nero were by far the most popular class of retail venue, accounting in total for an average of over 30,000 sessions per month. Cafes were followed in popularity by restaurants like McDonald's, bookstores such as Borders and Barnes and Nobles, office services stores such as UPS Stores and FedEx Kinko's locations, and train stations. Not surprisingly, session lengths at train stations were shorter than the average and very similar to those in airports, running 46 minutes on a typical basis.

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