Microsoft recently launched the popular Windows 8 Surface Pro tablet and also received positive reviews for the successful reinvention of the Windows 8 laptop. However, in its releases, Microsoft did not include embedded 3G or LTE technology into the device, and instead decided to manufacture these products as Wi-Fi-only. With many on-the-go mobile workers needing access beyond the local Starbucks or airport, a growing number of users are connecting their Wi-Fi-only devices to mobile broadband through their smartphones.
The Windows 8 Hotspot Problem: Bill Shock
By default, mobile hotspot users connecting to a Windows 8 tablet or PC without additional software from the operator will do so with an unmetered or free Wi-Fi connection. In other words, if a subscriber uses a mobile broadband puck, or smartphone hotspot app, with a Windows 8 device to connect to the Internet, they need to manually change the network settings in order to connect to a metered broadband connection. Users need to “flip the switch” to activate the local data usage counter and other data-saving features for their mobile hotspot connection.
If a user does not change their network setting to a metered connection, they could potentially receive a large, unexpected bill at the end of the month. This is the kind of stuff that keeps operator managers up at night wondering: “Does the retail staff know how to handle hotspots with Windows 8 devices?” “Should we add a Windows 8 disclaimer to our hotspot apps?” “How can we prevent the increase in support calls for Windows 8 connections?”
Don't Worry, There's a Solution
The Windows 8 Mobile Broadband Application for hotspots allows for more operator control with optional billing integration and real-time notifications of data usage on the user’s connected device. Operators looking to ensure every mobile hotspot connection, including the first one, is over a metered connection will need to develop enhancements for their mobile broadband Windows 8 devices.
What are your thoughts on Windows 8 and hotspot challenges?