Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Wi-Fi -- just like Bathrooms and Napkins...

In the continuing saga of the Cometa Networks shutdown, eWeek reports that Cometa customers are scrambling to find alternatives. In the article, Peter Hoedemaker, vice president of retail at Tully's Coffee,is quoted as saying
"Everybody is still trying to figure out the economics of [Wi-Fi]."
Note to Peter -- the economics are in selling coffee.

Perhaps he should go check out this post at Wi-Fi Networking News, outlining Wayport's new pricing plan. Wayport is converting from the common Wi-Fi model of sharing variable revenue and cost with their location partners to a flat fixed fee, allowing the partner to decide how much (if anything) to charge.
In a clear swipe at T-Mobile’s arrangement with Starbucks, Borders, and Kinko’s, in which, according to many sources, the cell company bears the cost of the network and operations and shares revenue with its venues, Wayport’s CEO Dave Vucina said, that a retail partnership “shouldn’t be about how much they can get for free from the provider but should be more about their core business and driving enormous traffic for their core business.”

So Peter -- think about it this way -- you provide a bathroom in Tulley's and that costs you something every month, even though not all of your patrons use it. You provide napkins, even though not everyone takes one. Why not build Wi-Fi into the base cost of operating a Tully's outlet and offer patrons free access just as you do with bathrooms and napkins?

1 comment:

Tom said...

In our town, a tea shop has taken to providing internet access for free, and it has had a very positive impact on their sales. Every time I go to the shop, there are 2-5 people "drinking tea" and working on their computer. It is a classic win win for all involved.