RealTime IT News

Norwegian Wireless Company Switches to Customer-Paid WLAN Model

Telenor Mobil, a Norwegian wireless access provider, announced today that its Wireless Internet Zone (WLAN) service is no longer free. The company has arrived at two pricing models that were put into place today. This is quite significant as carriers worldwide struggle with methods of monetizing wireless services. The Telenor service had been offered as a free introduction to its Nomad customers, at approximately 19 locations in Norway.

The first pricing model involves customers paying by the volume of data transmitted. Nomad customers will continue to use their current login code and password. Customers will pay for the amount of bytes transmitted for one month starting on the first of every month. The price for the first MB is slightly higher, currently at NOK 0.10/kb (which is roughly 1.1 cents at current exchange rates). Thereafter and up to 20MB, the price is NOK 0.025/kb. Telenor stated that the use of the Wireless Internet Zone is connected to its GPRS service and is billed according to consolidated use of the two. The Wireless Internet Zone does not have its own, separate subscription fee and is billed strictly on the data use method.

The second pricing model introduced by Telenor today involves a leasing model. Customers at covered zones lease a WLAN card from the associated establishment, like a hotel, and have service for 24 hours. The lease price includes unlimited usage. Telenor did not provide pricing details for this plan.

Telenor Mobile currently has 19 zones in Norway and stated that it plans to have 50 by the end of 2001. It is quite likely that the revenue model Telenor is using will be similar to those created by other public WLAN providers after some sort of introductory period.

Matthew Peretz is Managing Editor of 802.11-Planet.com