Monday, March 19, 2012

GSMA and the Wireless Broadband Alliance Target Simpler Wi-Fi Roaming

The GSMA and the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) are launching an initiative aimed at simplifying connectivity to Wi-Fi hotspots from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Specifically, the joint initiative is developing technical and commercial frameworks for Wi-Fi roaming. The goal is to allow mobile devices to seamlessly connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot using the SIM card for authentication, as well as enable mobile operators to uniquely and securely identify users whether they are on a mobile or Wi-Fi network.

Wi-Fi roaming will be based on the WBA’s Next Generation Hotspot program and the Wi-Fi Alliance’s "Passpoint certification" technology. It will also build on the GSMA’s roaming principles.

Agreement has already be reached on a common approach to authenticating mobile devices on Wi-Fi hotspots, automatically and securely. The initiative will now work towards aligning guidelines on security, billing, data offload, device implementation and network selection to create a consistent solution for GSMA and WBA members. This work will build on the GSMA’s GPRS Roaming Exchange (GRX) and the WBA’s Wireless Roaming Intermediary Exchange (WRIX) roaming models, which combined, will enable billions of consumers around the world to enjoy straightforward Internet connectivity.

"The proliferation of smartphones and tablets around the world, as well as consumers’ huge appetite for data means innovative solutions need to be explored to make using the Internet as convenient and as accessible as possible,�? said Dan Warren, Senior Director of Technology at the GSMA. "Through combining the proven capabilities of Mobile Broadband and Wi-Fi technologies, users will have the freedom to move between networks with ease."

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