Very interesting to see all the points discussed here.
We started installing wireless hotspots in business's around Australia around 6 months ago. We used to use a company located in Hungary, allthough sadly due to lack of support issues, payments & lack of development of needed features we decided to scrap them as our reseller provider.
Instead the last 6 months we have been developing our own hotspot reseller service/system. We are currently in the last stages of our test faze but the few test hotspot's we have implemented are generating a nice and steady income.
Our system works like the following.
A LinkSys Wireless AP is installed in the location. This AP has custom configuration/firmware downloaded and installed onto it. Once a customer connects to our wireless hotspot the AP captures any attempt to visit any URL and forward’s them to our payment/login page. From here a customer can either login (if they have existing credits) or purchase more using a credit card (we process all our payments using Eway payment gateway & internet merchant facilities on our bank account). Once the card is processed the user instantly can login and begin to web browse as normal.
We actually don't deal with customers, We allow for Operators/Resellers to sign up via us and the control is in the Reseller's hands (they can create custom packages, locations etc etc. from our backend management system). The funds are all controlled by the reseller (all they need is an Eway Payment Gateway & Internet Merchant Facilities on their bank account). We take a 20% commission on every sale which we invoice the reseller for at the end of each month.
I understand that my system has little relevance for what Exetel are trying to achieve how-ever i think with some quick & smart modifications to our current coding system our solution could be exactly what Exetel are after (i have sent emails off in regards to this).
If anyone is after some more information in regards to our system (which we launch to the public in around 3 weeks time - http://hotspot.wireless.net.au
) feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org