I travel a lot, and am constantly battling connectivity issues on the road. I like wi-fi, and it works well for me where it is available, but it is often not an option, or often requires that I fork over $10 or $20 to a hotel.
The mobile operators are sitting on a gold mine, but as usual they plow money into things that they think customers want (like cellphone cable television) and ignore simple, practical solutions. I travel overseas a lot, and while I can roam with my T-Mobile GPRS service, at $15 per MB, it gets expensive.
Mobile operators could offer a killer service for people by taking 3G data service and price it like Wi-Fi hotspot service, except it would be a hotspot that went with you everywhere. You’d just go to, for example, megaspot.t-mobile.de, enter your mobile phone number and payment details, and you’re good to go for 24 hours. The mobile operators could charge $15 to $20 per day for a service like this, and still be competitive with wi-fi based service due to the increased mobility.
My bluetooth enabled phone works great as a modem, and so I’d happily plunk down $20 per day to use it on a high speed mobile network when roaming, especially if the connection were fast enough to run G.729 VoIP. It would save me money, and it would be extra business for the phone company that got my business as a roamer. I’d much rather use a service like this than fork money over to an airport wi-fi operator that I can only use in an airline lounge, for example.
This shouldn’t be hard to do, it’s not much different than prepaid wireless, but in my travels, I have yet to see this service advertised (though I am sure someone has thought of this somewhere).