May 13, 2013 at 01:11 PM
written by Kris Mathis

Here's Why Sponsored (Free) Wi-Fi Is Still Tough To Come By

While sponsored Wi-Fi has been hailed as a promising new way to provide free internet access to the masses, the fact still remains that for Boingo, the world's largest network of commercial hotspots, less than seven percent of the company's total revenue comes from sponsorships, which provide users with free internet access from advertisers at airports, stadiums, subways, parks and other public venues.

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The company, which has generated a lot of press ink for some high profile partners grew sponsorship revenue fifty percent in the first quarter of 2013, largely due to its recent acquisition of Wi-Fi sponsorship platform, Cloud Nine Media.

Further, the company's new deal with Starbucks is a big boost to the company's sponsorship strategy. Recently, appointed exclusive Wi-Fi provider at 7,000+ locations, Boingo will share sponsorship revenue with Starbucks as it looks to give brands the ability to increasingly segment delivery of sponsorship assets in the coffee retailer by location, device and day time; among other variables.

Still, don't expect the company to tear down its walled garden of cash cow subscription services anytime soon until it proves sponsorships like this can scale.