News & Insight

Free Wi-Fi is anything but for small businesses.

Oliver Jones

Public Wi-Fi providers are charging outrageous prices for a service most businesses can't do without

Public Wi-Fi providers are charging outrageous prices for a service most businesses can’t do without.

According to Statista, the average profit of an SME is just £13,000, with many businesses operating below that, on razor-thin margins. These businesses need every edge they can get in order to compete with larger corporations.

But most Wi-Fi providers are charging £1,000 to set up a hotspot, with a further £30-50 per month to run it. That means if you wanted to set up a public Wi-Fi connection, you’d expect to shave off up to £1600 off your yearly profits.

Public Wi-Fi is the service small businesses need but can’t afford

It’s a scandalous state of affairs: our research shows that 82% of Brits are more likely to visit local businesses if free Wi-Fi is offered, and that adding free Wi-Fi increased the amount of time customers spend shopping by 32% over  6 months.

But the numbers are pretty clear – small businesses need public WiFi to survive. But we don‘t believe in hitting businesses with yet another utility bill is the answer.

That’s why we’ve made our public Wi-Fi free to use.

We saw there were easy gains to be made for small businesses by offering public Wi-Fi, but that this was being discouraged by an outrageous start-up fee and a hefty service bill.

So when we launched our customer Wi-Fi service, we decided early on that we were going to make it free – even if that cost us money. Why? Because it’s always been our ambition to do more than simply save small businesses money: we want to help them grow too.

Our customers are already seeing the benefits.

Darshan Sharma runs The Comfort Hotel. He’s already seen the benefits to their customers and business. Monitoring the hotel’s online activity and footfall, he noted: "Good public Wi-Fi means good reviews - that's what brings more customers in".

Jamaranian, who runs Bijou sandwich shop in Camberley added: "When people see the XLN sticker, they come in and ask if we have free Wi-Fi. That brings them in the store and gives me the chance to turn them into customers."

The success of businesses like these means vibrant high streets and a strong economy. Their failure means ghost towns, and low innovation nation-wide. What the major suppliers have failed to realise in the end, we’ll all benefit if our small business network is strong.

More informationion our Wi-Fi service is available at: