We’ve all been there: you need Internet access but there’s no secure, free Wi-Fi available. If you’re at a hotel, you might cough up the $14.95; if you’re at a restaurant, you may jump on “Ricky’s BBQ Free WeeFee,” or the equivalent, and hope your antivirus software is up to date.
Recently, I took a road trip from Southern California to Lake Tahoe with my family in tow. Fifteen minutes into the nine-hour trip, everyone gadgets up with laptops, tablets, and iPods. I soon detect restlessness from Internet withdrawal, starting with my son, who is unable to connect to his favorite game, Farm Story. “Try looking out the window!” I shout. As I stop short of spouting a “back in my day” story, I remember my app that turns my smartphone into a hotspot!
Mobile operators have reacted to the swell in data usage with a variety of strategies that include volume-based tiers, usage caps, and time-of-day usage pricing. While this may address the immediate challenge of preserving network integrity for users, it has also led to increased customer confusion, “bill shock,” higher support costs and, ultimately, higher customer churn.
Feeling a few megs short of a gig?
Let's face it, most consumers find it difficult to understand data usage rates that are measured in megabytes and gigabytes. For example, how does one distinguish between the data used while browsing Facebook and the data used while streaming music or video? The measurement of data consumption is even more complex when an entire family, or even a small business, is sharing a single broadband data connection.