Devicescape’s Curated Spot Check team recently visited Poland to conduct an on-the-ground assessment of amenity Wi-Fi in historic Warsaw. With nearly 40 million people, Poland is one of the European Union’s biggest countries and a great beacon for Eastern Europe. The team assessed Wi-Fi availability, attitudes, and quality throughout the city—from global restaurant chains to local businesses and tourist locations such as the Old Town Square. Here are some of the highlights:
- Both indoor and outdoor hotspots are in abundance. Tens of thousands of hotspots were verified across a small sub-section of the city center. Amenity Wi-Fi is a well-established component of the city’s modern business infrastructure—both password-based and the more consumer-friendly, password-free variety—at large multinational brands, smaller independent retailers, hotels, and at cultural locations.
- Public and private outdoor hotspots are fast emerging. For example, in recent years, Warsaw’s city government blanketed the city center with Wi-Fi, including the popular Royal Route, which begins at Warsaw’s Castle Square, runs south down the stately Krakowskie Przedmieście, and continues through the swanky Nowy Świat area. The Wi-Fi system is highlighted by “hotspot” street signs. Many of the city center businesses seem to rely on using this system, even though the signal quality levels inside the stores are sometimes insufficient.
- Hator, a billboard company, is using their locations to blast public Wi-Fi in many busy areas across Warsaw.
- Venue owners outside the city center appear to be deploying Wi-Fi systems in greater numbers than their inner city counterparts in an effort to garner more customers and create an internet-friendly destination.
- The quality of both the indoor and outdoor networks varied greatly in signal quality and congestion levels both day-to-day and throughout the day. There was a strong need here for a real-time curated Wi-Fi experience.
- Many tourists visiting Warsaw were seeking out amenity Wi-Fi, because it provides substantial savings over their mobile operators’ international roaming plans.
- Several prominent shopping centers, including the Golden Terraces and the Charkada malls, offered good quality and easy-to-access Wi-Fi options. Although the city-center had a relative dearth of international chains compared with the local variety, these shopping centers are filled with global restaurant chains such as McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC, and Starbucks—all of which offer amenity Wi-Fi to customers and in the public spaces throughout. Local retailers such as home-furnishings pioneer Almi Décor offer Wi-Fi to enhance the shopping experience.
- Warsaw did not appear to have dominant Wi-Fi service provider; each Wi-Fi local offers a unique user experience.
- Royal Lazienki Park seems to be void of Wi-Fi. Perhaps this is the way Chopin would have liked it as thousands gather each Sunday to hear live Chopin music being played around the Polish composer’s impressive statue? I wonder if it might help the legions of tourists that were trying to Shazam Chopin’s Black Key Etude as our Curated Spot team took a Sunday off to relax in the Majestic park.
For all its old world charm and history, Warsaw continues to advance its dense and varied underpinning of amenity Wi-Fi.
More to come as the team spot-checks other European capitals in the weeks and months ahead.