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End of the road for SA’s hotspots?

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Commercial WiFi networks are seeing a decline in usage as companies choose 3G connectivity over the expense associated with using external hotspots. 

Mobility 2007 research, released by World Wide Worx, shows a clear correlation between the increase in companies opting for 3G for their workers and the decline in commercial WiFi usage.
"The cost of WiFi hotspots in South Africa has priced them out of the market," says Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx. "Companies are able to use 3G, which is more efficient and cheaper.
"The cost benefits of commercial WiFi simply don't make sense and they are probably dead in the water."
Another factor having an impact on WiFi is the promise of WiMax – a high-speed long-distance broadband technology currently being piloted by a number of service providers. Already, 8% of corporates are piloting WiMax, which is exactly the number that are dropping WiFi.
Within South African corporates, 3G card usage has risen from 58% in 2006 to 82% in 2007. WiFi usage – mainly external hotspots in the case of corporates – has dropped from 74% to 66%.
SMEs, on the other hand, have embraced WiFi mainly for internal networks, and the number of users has risen from 33% in 2006 to 36% in 2007.
SMEs have also increased their wireless broadband usage, from 16% in 2006 to 31% in 2007.