Tom Dolan RovAir Interview
Hear What The President Of Rovair Has To Say About Mobile Broadband Rental!
is considered one of the
leading providers of day
pass wireless mobile broadband in the U.S. As being constantly
connected to the Internet
for business and pleasure continues to become more and more
people are looking for affordable and convenient options to meet their
lifestyle and budget. Tom
President, was kind enough to allow Prepaid-Wireless-Guide.com to pick
brain in the following interview.
Date: May 11, 2009
What was the impetus behind starting RovAir?
I was on vacation in a
rental home without internet access, so I purchased the two year
got the card. Reality
– I only needed it
for the two week vacation, and thought
I surely can’t be the
only one that
rented a home that needs to stay connected in a convenient location. It prompted me to research
data card rental
companies, of which there were only one or two, and they were
rental companies. Being
a hotel real
estate professional, I also was able to identify that there is also a
the hotel business itself; it is a pretty controversial topic amongst
What’s RovAir’s target demographic, and how are
your services positioned
against prepaid broadband services that also have weekly offerings?
Our target demographic are
businesspersons that have a need to stay connected while traveling. Generally speaking, most
everyone needs it to
stay connected to their business while traveling for business or
What differentiates RovAir from other available rental services?
have built our website
similar to a travel site, and not a shopping cart type model. Travelers are familiar with
the process of a car
rental, hotel, or airline reservation system, so our website was built
reservation system model.
We are also
able to activate
equipment that is not our own in an On Demand fashion; the advantages
are less lead time to reservation, and we eliminate the shipping
more of a virtual distribution.
would personally like to work
with all my competition rather than work against them. Working together will allow
us to create a
greater degree of awareness. Our
hurdle is educating the public that they don’t have to be
confined by the
limits of a “hotspot.”
You currently offer Sprint (CDMA) and Verizon (CDMA) broadband modems;
have plans to offer services from other carriers?
now we only offer
Sprint and Verizon, so we do not have a GSM carrier in the US.
We are considering
AT&T; their process is
a little different. There are advantages to bringing them in. Overall, we would like to
begin coverage in Europe,
which would push us to using one of the carriers
over there. The
cost effectiveness for
the consumer needs to there for it to be worthwhile.
If I have an inactive wireless broadband modem on a network that you
can I purchase service from you as I need it?
That way I wouldn’t have to deal with waiting
for, and returning the
modem each time I want to use it.
it’s called RovAir On
Demand. Right now we need 24 hour lead time, but in the future, we hope
able to activate within minutes.
It appears as though I need to have a credit card to pay for RovAir
service. Are there
other ways to fund
the service, or is RovAir not targeting cash based customers?
We are not targeting cash
based services unless it is for RovAir on demand. Then we could
card for users who don’t pay on time.
Have you experienced any challenges with people receiving a modem that
damaged? If so, how
does RovAir work to
ensure customers are up and running quickly?
modems are tested
before they leave. We
support would be a challenging, but have found that we have very few
support calls. 95%
of the problems are
with Verizon, not Sprint. If
we do have
a tech support situation, 50% are handled internally relatively
quickly. If we have
a situation that we cannot resolve,
we escalate it to the carrier, in which case, we call the carrier and
conference in the customer so that they do not have to wait on hold. About 95% of all problems
are resolved quickly,
and are usually on conflict on the customer’s computer, not
with the card. When
we do have a problem with the card that cannot be resolved, we refund all
costs including shipping, and offer a free day next time they rent. It’s all about
I think the rental idea is great, and provides the additional benefit
occasional users not having to worry about maintaining current wireless
equipment. I can see certain people
wanting to use your service on a sporadic, but not infrequent basis,
would enjoy the benefits of rental, but are looking for more
Do you offer, or plan to offer, any return
customer or loyalty programs?
Yes, we are starting a
refer-a-friend program and have the framework for a customer loyalty
We hope to have a program rolled out by the
Mobile broadband is a market that’s really heating up, and
planning on offering wireless enabled netbooks as part of their
you see RovAir offering such a product
on a rental basis?
but we would rather
partner with a laptop rental company, and then activate their built in
under RovAir On demand.
10. [PWG] Where
do you see the mobile broadband rental market five years from now?
3G rentals will be gone in
its current form. In
other words, I
think people will have either gotten them built-in, and then just use
Demand, or they will have moved on to some sort of 4G or whitespace,
will begin to penetrate.
the origin of the company name “RovAir”?
We started with the idea
of naming the company Rover or Air Rover, but thought we would open
to a trademark infringement with other companies out there like Land
Rover. So we came
up with roving the airways, or
notice certain subtle
details on our website and logo referencing a dog, like the red ball
paw print, and our trademarked “we are the
traveler’s best friend.”
12. [PWG] Is
there anything else that you think people should know about RovAir?
[Dolan] Yes. Customers should
that rental companies offer a distinct advantage over the WiFi/ hotspot
etc. These 3 carriers have significant control
over the worldwide hotspot market; they advertise roughly 250,000
total worldwide. Big deal! With 3G service, we have
millions of hotspots. We give the traveler true mobility for
a better value.
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