The WBA, Wireless Broadband Alliance, announced that the world’s largest operators such as Portugal Telecom, China Mobile, AT&T, PCCW, NTT DOCOMO, Shaw Communications, BT (News - Alert), Orange, True, KT and Boingo Wireless, have taken the initiative and participated in network assessments for the WBA’s ambitious Interoperability Compliance Program.
The aim of the WBA is global deployment of next generation Wi-Fi to usher in a new era of outstanding user experience. The WBA program is now open to all WBA operator members and it is trying to have a common set of technical and commercial framework for Wi-Fi roaming all over the world. This standardization will enable the operators to enter into roaming agreements with each other across the globe. Operators have been very receptive to the whole idea of having a common set of procedures and requirements for Wi-Fi roaming.
AT&T, Boingo Wireless, NTT (News - Alert) DOCOMO, BT and KT were the first operators who completed initial network assessments successfully.
JR Wilson, chairman of the WBA and vice president of Partnerships & Alliances, AT&T (News - Alert) Mobility, said that AT&T was proud to support the Wireless Broadband Alliance as this will create a clear guideline for operators, while developing a directory of the Wi-Fi capabilities of various carriers.
“The ICP answers many of the questions for operators wishing to deploy Wi-Fi roaming, including comprehensive guidelines for various network sizes and configurations and the sharing of best practices such as billing procedures and customer service. This has created an environment where we can be aware of each other’s requirements and concerns and will significantly accelerate Wi-Fi roaming,” said Dr. Andrew Jun, vice-president of 3W Network Strategy, Network Group, KT (News - Alert) Corporation.
“The past 12 months have seen the Wi-Fi and cellular user experiences become more closely aligned – the introduction of Wi-Fi roaming is a central to this movement. The program has helped us to revolutionize the customer experience in the new era of NGH-based Wi-Fi Roaming and we are delighted to be involved,” said Dr. Attapol Wannasarnmaytha, deputy director of Broadband Services, True Internet Company Limited.
Since December, operators have been in the process of conducting a self-assessment analysis to deduce their readiness for Wi-Fi roaming. With the help of ICP, WBA has created compliance guidelines and is also offering support to operators who need it.
Shrikant Shenwai, chief executive officer of the WBA, said: “Many wireless operators have come to see public Wi-Fi as an essential component for mobile connectivity. However, there have been inconsistencies in the way devices connect to and roam on Wi-Fi networks. This program offers a solution as it enables operators to work together and make improvements to their own networks in order to ultimately deliver a more consistent roaming experience. After only a few months, ICP has proven a big hit with the operators involved and has now been opened up to our wider membership.”
WBA is continuing with advanced trials of NGH, Next Generation Hotspot, to give more public Wi-Fi access points all over the world. At Mobile World Congress (News - Alert) 2013, WBA will be hosting a Wi-Fi Zone. The focus of the event will be on topics such as Wi-Fi roaming and offload, Wi-Fi and heterogeneous networks, next-generation hotspot migration and operator, vendor and device manufacturer engagement.
Edited by Brooke Neuman