UK leads Europe in hotspot boom

As LBS takes more knowledge mobile…

As LBS takes more knowledge mobile…

Mobile workers will soon have even more technology at their fingertips remotely as wireless hotspots continue to grow at an impressive rate, with location-based services set to follow the same path, new research has found.

According to a report from consultancy BroadGroup, the deployment of wireless hotspots in Europe has risen by 67 per cent in the six months up to May 2005.

BroadGroup has also found that the UK is now leading the Wi-Fi way with 34 per cent of all hotspots in Europe.

Wi-Fi users will also be cheered to know that prices of access to hotspots is dropping albeit slowly, with weekly subscription packages dropping at the fastest rate – over 62 per cent in the first half of this year.

Accordingly, the lion's share of Wi-Fi access is bought on a pay-as-you-go basis, rather than via a regular contract – just 10 per cent of all access is bought this way, the consultancy found.

Other services designed for mobile workforces are also set for a boom time. According to research from analysts Berg Insight, mobile location-based services (LBS) will be worth €274m this year and will experience average year-on-year growth of around 83 per cent until 2005.

The research firm believes the stellar growth will be driven by more LBS-friendly phones as well as operators introducing new services to squeeze extra cash from consumers by way of data rather than voice.

A couple of operators have already made tentative steps towards milking LBS, including TeliaSonera and Vodafone which recently introduced its Vodafone Navigator service, which turns mobiles into GPS location devices with mapping technology.

Fleet management and monitoring dispersed workforces will also help to increase take-up of LBS.