November 21, 2014
Could this be the future of mobile PR?
WiFi is everywhere. Not too long ago people rejoiced if they found a spot where they could connect to the net wirelessly. Now the tech is so common, it feels a bit like stepping back in time when a place doesn’t offer WiFi. It’s like a Dr. Seuss refrain. Where can you get WiFi? In a train and on a plane. In a car, both near and far. But is it really everywhere? Well, not quite…but things are going that way.
As this trend continues, and by all indications it will, soon people will be talking about WiFi deserts in the same pitying way they discuss food deserts. There will be charities dedicated entirely to bringing WiFi into “depressed areas.”
This move toward more WiFi is music to the ears of mobile users. Let’s face it, how much actual “phone using” do most people do anymore? The vast majority of current mobile users log on to social media, text, and stream data much more than they chat. With more WiFi available, that means less data being purchased from mobile carriers. Soon, people might be able to skip buying data plans completely.
What then, from the big four phone companies? Sure, they will find some way to turn a profit, but what will your mobile bill look like in ten years? Let’s peek across an ocean to see.
Over in Europe, many cell phone users have already begun to cancel their wireless carrier. Over there, WiFi is nearly unilateral, both accessible and imminently robust. Things are not that way in the United States…at least not yet.
Of course, there are also very real concerns about public WiFi safety. With more public access, hackers have more opportunities to access personal mobile devices. At least, that’s the assumption. And it’s tough to argue with the logic. Sure, connectivity companies are offering better security encryption, but we all know how that dance can go. They get better, then so do the hackers. They get smarter, and the bad guys find a “dumb” way to get around all that “smart.”
So, for now, the wireless companies are biding their time, while the cable companies are basking in the hope of turning their value added service into a staple, as well as something to replace plummeting basic cable revenues.