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iPass Intros Flat Rate for Device Management

iPass said today that it will now offer corporate customers a flat-rate price that encompasses all its features, from global access on almost any type of connection to management of the connection and the actual device.

“We were historically pricing on a usage basis,” says Piero DePaoli, director of global product marketing at iPass, of a pricing scheme that stretched back to the days of dial-up. “We had a usage base, and a cap for a certain amount of usage per person. That worked well for us at that time, when we had 3,000 to 5,000 hotspots... it worked when you paid ahead for access.”

Since then, the frequency of customers requesting help with access to non-partnered hotspots has increased -- that's help with hotspots found outside the iPass virtual footprint (the company doesn’t own any of its own hotspots; it just aggregates those of other providers). Plus, that virtual footprint has rocketed up to 60,000 hotspots around the globe.

“Customers wanted the ability to use our software not just for access to the iPass network, but also on their home networks and free hotspots,” says DePaoli.

Since 2006, iPass has had a two-tier flat-rate system. One is for users just using the iPass software, for which there’s a small fee; the other is for those using the software and the iPass network for access, which includes not just hotspots but also dial-up and broadband (such as Ethernet-based connections found at hotels.)

What’s new is that the device management portion, which does things like pushing out patches and updates, as well as handling remote management of corporate devices, will be part of the flat-rate pricing the company charges for access. A corporation could, for example, pay the software fee and make sure all its thousands of remote users have software that is safe and up to date.

“It all happens at the same predictive price, so it’s two tools together,” says DePaoli. “We’re adding more value to the software users -- we’re not giving it away, per se.” The device management portion will have to be hosted either by iPass or on a server by the corporate customer. Each device using the service must also be running a small (500k) runtime agent.

Of course, all this talk of flat-rate pricing doesn’t mean we can tell you what you’ll pay – that varies from corporation to corporation, based on their number of users and length of contract.