Is the case for Wi-Fi ‘offload’ (a better name is probably mobile/Wi-Fi convergence) making a comeback? Thus far, mobile carriers have been ‘offloading’ to Wi-Fi networks mostly at big airports and stadiums, but this week the case for offload may have strengthened with another big name carrier getting involved.
Vodafone Germany announced yesterday that they’re testing a new app that will connect users to the best wireless network including of course Wi-Fi hotspots. The test is ongoing in three cities and will use connectivity technology from Chemring with Cisco providing the policy engine part. This is – to our knowledge – the first major field trial of a Wi-Fi offload type solution by a Tier 1 operator in Europe.
Late last week Boingo Wireless released new numbers for their Wi-Fi offload service delivered to Sprint: 22 million Sprint customers have thus far accessed Boingo’s Wi-Fi network, and Boingo says it expects that number to grow to 40 million. Sprint customers have been connecting seamlessly to Boingo’s Wi-Fi network across the US since early last year. Boingo also hinted that they expect another Tier 1 US operator to offload traffic to Boingo Wi-Fi some time during the first half of this year.
So what’s next for mobile/Wi-Fi convergence? I’m pretty sure that the technology to do this (mostly on the device side) will not be standards-based, but rather app-based. And that means that it’s anybody’s game – if you can get it out there. Possibly the best app I’ve ever seen to this end is called Speedify. Speedify aggregates Wi-Fi & cellular data streams by means of a VPN and it’s totally seamless. Watch our interview with Speedify’s founder & CEO Alex Gizis below.
Meet Boingo, T-Mobile, and Speedify at Wi-Fi NOW the conference in DC this April 19-21! Go to this link to register now.