With their new app for Android phones, iPass expects to give consumers a choice in how they connect to the Internet. The service has rolled out with tens of thousands of hotspots around the world, and the app allows secure access to all of them for a fairly low monthly fee. The driving force behind the expected turnout for the service is the overall expense of using 3G networks for data and Internet on handsets.
Computerworld gives us a glimpse into the steep costs that 3G users might flee from to the iPass service,
IPass has found that its business customers include workers who travel and can avoid expensive 3G costs by resorting to Wi-Fi. How expensive? In one example, a business traveler connected to a 3G network from a laptop in a hotel room in England to watch a single U.S. football game, racking up a total bill of $20,000, the spokeswoman said.
In addition, iPass has found that many business users want to connect using Wi-Fi because it offers somewhat faster data speeds than 3G, not just because it might be less expensive.
Selling their service with plans as low as $7 per month per user and offering more reliable bandwidth honey will certainly draw a lot of customers from 3Gs vinegar. Cellular networks have an excellent purpose in delivering bursts of information and reliable calls, but when it comes to data their pricing schedules do leave a lot of major players in the lurch. Large network roll-out for giant corporations allows for even deeper integration and deeper broadband, which appears to run an average of $30 per user.
The iPass service makes use of a cloud-based mobile connection method by taking advantage of a mesh of Wi-Fi hotspots at major locations (probably mostly hotels and urban centers.) It will have to compete with otherwise free connection apps that use Wi-Fi hotspots offered at the same locations—in the case of hotels that often make free Wi-Fi part of the amenities for the stay.
The app, iPass Open Mobile has been extended to Android 2.1 devices but also runs on Windows 7, iPhone, and Blackberry. The service also has applications for laptops running XP, UNIX, and MacOS.