Boingo - a traveler's lifesaver

Boingo - a traveler's lifesaver

Summary: I've been road testing Boingo on both my laptop and N95 the last few months. It's great.

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I've been road testing Boingo on both my laptop and N95 the last few months. It's great. In short, Boingo provides subscribers with an easy way to avoid all those ludicrous $X per day charges that hotels and airport operators try to gouge out of you when on the road and especially when out of range of your home network provider.

In my case that means any airport in Spain plus the rest of the world, especially if I want to use the laptop rather than simply collecting and answering email over the N95. Given that I make a foreign business trip almost every month, that can quickly add up to a lot of money. As an aside, remember that Blackberry is not as popular in Europe as it is in the US where every other business person I come across seems to be thumbing their Blackberry.

Boingo's attraction comes in two forms. First the laptop subscription cost at $21.95 per month after the teaser rate of $7.95 for use in the US is easily recouped against hotel and airport charges. The $39 global rate is even better value for money when you consider that a hotel in Amsterdam can charge as much as €24 ($34) per day and one in London £12.00 ($21)per day.

Second, the Boingo network is growing well with more than 100,000 locations spread around the world. So for example last week, I was able to connect at an Ibis Hotel in the UK - something I would normally have done directly through the Orange network. If I'd had time, I would have checked out the connection at Manchester airport. While on a layover in Atlanta, I noticed that Boingo is the preferred partner for a number of alternative providers at the airport.

The proof of the pudding comes in the quality of the WiFi connection. So far I've experienced no problems. This is in sharp contrast to the issues I usually have at conferences when WiFi networks are under provisioned.

My one nit is the fact I need separate subscriptions for laptop and the N95 which comes in at $7.95 per month. I'd prefer to have an all-in-one deal but I guess that will come in time as the network expands and Boingo is able to bundle services more cost effectively.

Finally it's worth thinking about the loyalty angle. Many of my friends detest their day to day provider. This is because they get stung with roaming charges out of all proportion to the value they deliver. Network of network providers like Boingo offer a different, more convenient experience. I sense that is likely to keep customers more loyal, especially for the increasing numbers of road warriors and Starbucks style startups.

Topics: Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Networking

Dennis Howlett

About Dennis Howlett

Dennis Howlett is a 40 year veteran in enterprise IT, working with companies large and small across many industries. He endeavors to inform buyers in a no-nonsense manner and spares no vendor that comes under his microscope.

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5 comments
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  • Is blackberry charging for 'data roaming' now?

    A colleague informed me that since May 2008 she has been charged for sending and receiving emails while outside of the country. As far as I know the charge for the data component of blackberry service is a lump sum monthly payment.Our home service is in Trinidad and Tobago and we frequently travel to the USA. We are now being charged for data access while in the US. The phone company is feigning ignorance of the policy but one of their employees claimed that Blackberry changed their billing policies. Is this a third world scam or is anyone else receiving similar charges? If Blackberry is charging for data, services like Boingo will rise and we may even see the demise of RIM.
    kpm
  • I've seen this software muck up...

    several of our corporate laptops. I dread seeing it installed on a users machine. Takes out the wireless adapters sometimes.
    BitTwiddler
    • Definitely mucks it up

      The one and only time I installed Boingo, it took down my wireless card completely when I got back home. I had to uninstall the stuff to get my network connection back.
      Kevin Dean
  • RE: Boingo - a traveler's lifesaver

    boingo is even great if you stay home!
    just disable the constant downloading of new hotspot locations and disable the boingo database, and boingo is the best way to connect Win2k systems to wireless!
    Just make sure boingo is compatible with your wireless hardware and bingo-boingo won't "MUCK UP"
    Its a better interface than the stupid windows "Zero Wireless" or the Linksys "Smart Stuff"
    (works with XP and 98 also)
    dcsos
  • RE: Boingo - a traveler's lifesaver

    It sounds like some people might have an earlier version of Go Boingo! The current version is just a small application that alerts users when in a Boingo hotspot - it should have no affect on wireless cards or connection. It pops up when in a Boingo location so you can login with one login, one password and get access to our networks.

    If you are having problems, please email me at jpepper at boingo.com.

    We try to make the road warriors life easier, helping them get online and get things done.
    jspepper_boingo