Vex shops ad-based Wi-Fi delivery model

As a new Wi-Fi supplier in the market, Vex Canada aims to decrease the cost of data plans and spread wireless across country - starting with the home of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

When it comes to Wi-Fi and the number of hot spots available commercially for users of wireless devices, Canada is still in the ‘dark ages,’ says Asif Khan, country manager for Vex Canada, the Toronto-based arm of Brazil-headquartered Vex Corporation that hopes to bring Canadians into the wireless century. With its launch, Vex Canada is also introducing an ad-based model that would see brands swallow the cost of the service in exchange for sponsorship opps.

‘We have a simple mission statement – to make Wi-Fi free and available everywhere,’ Khan tells MiC. Sponsored Wi-Fi would address the change in consumer behaviours from the caffeine fiend sitting in a coffee shop with a laptop for two hours to the Crackberry age where people want to be accessible everywhere on their mobile phones. ‘The problem in this country is that the voice and data rates are amongst the highest in the world. So if I can find a way to check my email, surf the net over my smartphone device and not pay my carrier, the better it is for me.’

Vex Canada also announced a partnership yesterday with CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats, bringing Wi-Fi to their fans during games at Ivor Wynne Stadium. Vex is seeking sponsorship of the service at the game from some of the brands that are already on display at the stadium. ‘Here’s another touchpoint with those consumers as they sit in the stands,’ he says.

The brand would have their logo in the form of banner or video visible on the log-in page, as well as in-store signage that advertises the sponsored service. While the cost would depend on the size of the chain, ‘at the moment we’re looking at a CPM that’s all-encompassing of around $45 to $50,’ says Khan.

There are currently about 3,000 hot spots in Canada. Khan says Vex is currently in talks with a major coffee company, a major restaurant chain and a large pedestrian tourist venue/shopping mall. ‘In all cases we’re looking for brands to get involved and to sponsor this,’ he adds.