Australia’s Telstra has announced plans for a massive nationwide Wi-Fi network to take the load off its 4G network, and Fon’s Wi-Fi-sharing system will be part of it.
Wi-Fi has moved from an at-home convenience to a public service as mobile devices continue to take over. Here’s a look at the new opportunities to connect with consumers, and how businesses can easily screw it all up.
NTT DoCoMo is letting Boingo’s customers onto its 55,000-node strong hotspot network in Japan, increasing Boingo’s presence there to 60,000 hotspots. In turn DoCoMo customers get access to Boingo’s network of 600,000 hotspots.
After a year and countless waves of beta trials, Republic Wireless is finally swinging open the doors for a commercial launch. New customers can now order its latest Motorola smartphone from its Website and sign up for its dirt-cheap $19 unlimited everything plans.
Ruckus is following a different path than its arch-rival BelAir Networks. Instead of preening itself for acquisition, it’s filed for an initial public offering. Hoping to raise $100 million, Ruckus will keep plugging away at building expansive outdoor Wi-Fi networks.
The U.K.’s O2 has launched a 100-hotspot Wi-Fi network just in time for the Olympics, offering up its capacity to all takers gratis. But there’s something else under the hood of these Ruckus access points: a slot waiting for a future O2 small cell.
Fon may have launched in Madrid, but lately the company taking on a very Japanese flavor. According to the company, which pioneered the concept of a global community Wi-Fi network, 1 million or a full one-sixth of its global access points now reside in Japan.
Anyfi has developed a tunneling technology that allows ordinary access points and residential gateways to spawn virtual Wi-Fi networks anyone can log into. The Swedish startup is betting this is the answer operators are looking for to build huge ubiquitous Wi-Fi offload networks.
The Wi-Fi Alliance will begin certifying devices under its new Passport initiative, which ensures that mobile phones can log into Wi-Fi networks seamlessly. Now it’s the Wireless Broadband Alliance’s turn to take over, integrating those devices and the access points into the mobile operator’s network.
Telecom networking giant Ericsson is buying BelAir Networks, adding its high-performance outdoor hotspot technology to its portfolio, sources told GigaOM. The deal signals a shift in mindset for the big cellular vendors, which until now have never gotten serious about Wi-Fi.