Telecom Lead Asia: The GSMA and the Wireless
Broadband Alliance (WBA) announced they are working under a joint initiative to
develop technical and commercial frameworks for Wi-Fi roaming.
The initiative will simplify connectivity to Wi-Fi
hotspots from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
The joint initiative will bring together the benefits of
mobile technology and Wi-Fi networks for the first time, creating a far simpler
Wi-Fi roaming will allow mobile devices to seamlessly
connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot using the SIM card for authentication. It will also
allow 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’ programme and the Wi-Fi Alliance’s -Passpoint
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.Through combining the proven capabilities of Mobile Broadband and
Wi-Fi technologies, users will have the freedom to move between networks with
ease,”said Dan Warren, senior director of technology at the GSMA.
The Wi-Fi roaming initiative will 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
The combination of Wi-Fi and mobile technologies extends
the power of broadband for consumers. The work by the WBA and the GSMA will
expedite the availability of a new generation of Internet access for the
benefit of consumers everywhere. Key to this is Wi-Fi being able to replicate
the success of mobile technology and allow users to roam seamlessly between
different networks,” said Shrikant Shenwai, CEO, WBA.
Recently, the GSMA announced a series of initiatives along with a developer’s guide
which will help application developers ensure their applications whether are
more user- and network-friendly or not.