Airmobs is a community-based hotspot app that has created an on-demand wi-fi tethering market. It provides network connectivity if your device has no connection or roaming costs are too high, by allowing for the use of someone else’s data plan. This will let users internet access even when their service provider is out of network coverage.
The person who provides the network access will gain credit points that can be used when they aren’t connected. The incentive is that by sharing your data connection, you will get data in return at another time, creating a dedicated network of users.
Airmobs monitors various parameters in order to decide when to provide a network to others. These include sensing network, battery, phone, SMS, and data usage. This monitoring allows the app to provide network to others only when this doesn’t impact the host’s experience. Users can also control how much of their data plan they are willing to share.
Credit points are gained depending on the duration of network access provided and the amount of data shared. Once a user uses another person’s connection, these points are transferred across in a P2P way.
The Verge notes that Airmobs was developed by the Viral Spaces research group at MIT’s Media Lab and it’s creator is hesitant to release it because of how the networks might react.