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VBN services market primed for growth

Airports and the hospitality sector look set to fuel revenues for visitor-based network (VBN) services from $15 million in 2001 to a massive $1.3 billion by 2006, according to research group, IDC.

Airports and the hospitality sector look set to fuel revenues for visitor-based network (VBN) services to $1.3 billion by 2006. According to research group, IDC, the market for VBN services will create new business opportunities for location owners, and rocket the market beyond the $15 million mark of 2001.

In addition to boosting revenues, VBN services will also increase the average length of stay, increase customer satisfaction and enhance the location’s image, says IDC.

“Locations with many international business travellers such as hotels, airline lounges and airports will be the first to offer broadband access services to their visitors,” said Jan Hein Bakkers, research analyst, European Networking Expertise centre, IDC. “These visitors will expect to find broadband connectivity to access critical business information anytime, anywhere.”

IDC is predicting that hotels will dominate the VBN market, accounting for up to $855 million of revenues in 2006. 17,000 locations in Western Europe are expected to be offering broadband access services by 2006, with 70% of these locations offering Wireless LAN (WLAN) services or a combination of fixed and wireless services.

“Mobile operators have to offer public WLAN services to complement other high-speed mobile data services like GPRS and UMTS, otherwise they risk losing heavy users as soon as they enter a wireless hot spot,” said Evelien Wiggers, research analyst for IDC’s European Expertise centre.

“WLANs are operating in the unlicensed spectrum, which means anyone can start their own wireless network. The advantage for mobile operators is they already have a significant customer base and by stepping into the VBN market and offering wireless LAN in public access markets they will be able to transform this customer base into a client base for data infrastructure services,” she added.

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