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AT&T Pitching Broader Wi-Fi Roaming Agreements

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Jun 13, 2013, 11:34 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T would like to strike more Wi-Fi roaming agreements with its international peers. Bill Hague, AT&T's executive vice president of international affairs, said that such agreements would benefit not only consumers, but the network operators, too. "Roaming agreements will increase revenue for everyone, and far more than anyone could do individually," said Hague while speaking at the Wi-Fi Globall Congress this week. "In much the same way as GSMA standardization secured its international success, so we need to do the same with Wi-Fi." Specifically, AT&T is looking at the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) and its Passpoint program, which will allow cell phone users roam from cell network to Wi-Fi hotspots seamlessly, even in other countries. Passpoint and the Next Generation Hotspot (Hotspot 2.0) programs require that devices be certifed by the WBA, since a big piece of the puzzle is authentication of the user between the various networks. The standards are still in progress and the industry has yet to settle on one. Apple's recently-announced iOS 7 includes support for Hotspot 2.0, as does the Samsung Galaxy S4. The initiative is expected to go live for consumers early next year.

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