Logan Orviss International, one of EMEA’s largest telecommunications consultancy groups, today commented further about the impact of WiFi health concerns. Initially cited in various publications, this scare will now pick up much broader consumer awareness following the broadcast of last evening’s BBC Panorama programme.
The scientific community appears polarised by heath concern reports – such as the ‘test’ that allegedly proved that WiFi radiation in the classroom was three times the level generated by mobile phone masts – a portion of the community now believes caution is imperative, and the remainder believes it is irresponsible scaremongering.
“If schools across the country are starting to rethink implementing WiFi, as reports have suggested, confidence is already rattled,” said Hugh Roberts, senior strategist for Logan Orviss International. “Consumer behaviour and purchasing decisions in the private sector will be impacted.”
Roberts continues: “It is important to consider what could happen in the communications value chain. Wi-Fi offers a form of ‘mobility’ for fixed line operators who want to offer their customers converged services that include ‘out of home experiences’ without incurring mobile roaming tariffs for voice and data services. Even a small erosion of consumer confidence – which is now almost inevitable – will change the competitive landscape and will undoubtedly influence the future re-structuring of the telecoms industry.”
Logan Orviss notes two other areas that might become affected if these scare stories continue:
1 – Telcos are investing on convergent services targeted at family groups, where the bill payer (typically a parent) is responsible for the overall profile of the family’s usage, although individuals are able to top-up or modify their accounts in defined ways. Home networks – typically WiFi – have been an important part of the development of this comprehensive offering
2 – Apart from the potential decline in customer revenues from hardware and usage sales, teleco advertising revenues for certain types of convergent services that utilise WiFi may be hit. Even with the current level of concern, the advertiser profile will start to change
Stats on the WiFi market
Logan Orviss notes the size of the UK’s current WiFi market:
There are currently 35,000 public hotspots
Metropolitan centres are rolling out WiFi access, including London’s City (through The Cloud), Norwich, Brighton, and even Aberdeen
20 per cent of the population owns wireless-enabled laptops
50 per cent of primary schools, and 80 per cent of secondary schools have WiFi (and the first has dismantled part of its Wi-Fi infrastructure on health and safety grounds)