The Ambiguity Of Mobile Users Connecting Via WiFi

With a growing number of mobile users opting to use WiFi connections to access the mobile Web and other mobile services as opposed to the wireless networks provided by carriers, it’s presenting a problem in terms of tracking those users who are now virtually unrecognized, and thus un-trackable by providers and operators.

According to new research conducted by Bango, over 20% of mobile users are now connecting via WiFi.  The outcome of which, is the fact that being unrecognized by the networks, it’s making it difficult to sell and market mobile services to these users and significantly impacting mobile content revenues.

This is troubling to the world of mobile marketing in that it cuts the usually high ROI and conversion rates of mobile content that is purchased via operator-based billing.  When mobile users, who are accessing content via carrier networks, come across mobile services and solutions, they could easily purchase by way of being billed directly by their carrier.  When that same user is connecting via WiFi, operator billing is not accessible, which in turn adds more steps for that user to purchase and cuts conversions significantly.  The statistics also reveal that many customers that access their operator portals via WiFi are blocked, which prevents them from accessing or purchasing operator approved content and services.

With WiFi becoming the de facto connection method for obvious reasons, it’s forcing mobile carriers and mobile content providers to find new ways of tracking users and allowing them to utilize the ease of operator-based billing while still utilizing WiFi connections.  It’s estimated that by 2010, over a third of all mobile connections will be via WiFi, so to counteract this shift, mobile billing providers and carriers alike are already working on new methods to integrate carrier-based billing no matter how the mobile users are connected.