HotSpotMe recently launched a service allowing people to share their WiFi for profit. Essentially an Uber for WiFi service, HotSpotMe facilitates peer to peer WiFi sharing. Anyone can register a WiFi hotspot that they own. People seeking WiFi can log in to nearby networks for a fee, and 72% of that fee goes back to the hotspot owner. The tech behind the scenes provides security and hides information about the hotspot.
HotSpotMe is currently only available to android users. They’re accepting host signups from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
It will take some time before this service is useful for travelers. You need a lot of hotspots to get decent wifi coverage even in a small city.
I think this is a potentially useful service. But Velvet Wifi tried this exact same business model three years ago, and they’ve disappeared, presumably failing to make it profitable. For many I think the need for private WiFi sharing is shrinking. There’s a growing availability of free WiFi at cafes, libraries and even public parks. And phone networks are getting faster and more usable for data services.
Still, I think more WiFi access can only be a good thing. I hope to test out HotSpotMe when they release an iPhone app. In the mean time, let me know how it goes if you try it.