Even with the domination of smartphones and mobile data, it’s still nice to have Wi-Fi access in places. Maybe you don’t have a smartphone. Maybe you need to get some work done and that 4-inch screen just won’t do it for you. Maybe you’re at the airport and you need to conserve your phone’s battery. All of the above, apparently, are good enough reasons for AT&T to test a new pilot project that offers free Wi-Fi to users if they’re willing to sit through some good old-fashioned advertising.
Beginning in September, passengers at the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport will be able to log onto AT&T’s Wi-Fi hotspot for free, provided they watch a 30-second commercial every 40 minutes. It beats shelling out around $10 for Internet access, as the DFW airport is not one of the hundreds around the country that already offers free wireless connectivity. It’s unclear what AT&T’s vision is for expanding this if it’s successful, but it is an interesting idea.
In a world where mobile data is all around us, and we’re quickly being engulfed in a blanket of LTE networks that can power through the Internet at the same speed as a broadband connection, it seems beyond ridiculous that there are still places where consumers are paying $10, $20, or even more just for a quick round of Wi-Fi access. Sure, those hotspot charges aren’t as common as they used to be (want free Wi-Fi? Just go to Starbucks), but at places where consumers are price inelastic, like airports, that still exists.