Moroccan fixed and mobile operator Maroc Telecom has launched an internet-access solution called WifiPub that allows users to access the internet at various hotspots located in public places such as hotels and restaurants. Connection is free, but users must watch an advertisement lasting about 10 seconds before the internet session can begin. The service also offers data-mining applications for advertisers, giving them the ability to locate users, determine purchasing profiles and obtain real-time reports on the whereabouts and number of visitors.
With interactive ad revenues on the rise worldwide, funding internet access through ads makes a great deal of sense. In addition, public WiFi has a value-added aspect for advertisers, namely the data-mining capacity which allows them to more effectively target potential customers. Again, free access to data can be a very effective driver of internet-based commerce and a boon to both operators and their partners in terms of eventual revenue.