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The Wireless broadband Alliance ("WBA"), a pioneer in global Wireless Broadband roaming for public Wi-Fi networks, has announced the joining of AT&T, Cisco, Comcast, Devicescape, KT Corporation and Verizon, to the group. With the explosion in wireless data usage driven by rapid innovation of smartphones, tablets and laptops with built-in Wi-Fi access, group membership is evolving to also include device and equipment manufacturers, content and information providers.

120 delegates from over 50 global companies were set to meet at the 17th WBA Roundtable Conference and Wi-Fi Ecosystem Summit in San Diego, where they will discuss new opportunities to drive the adoption of wireless broadband services. They will also debate key issues, including how to promote Wi-Fi's role as a complementary technology to 3G and the development of seamless access services for popular devices such as smartphones and tablets.

The event will also see the public release of a set of specifications designed by WBA to aid the roaming between Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs). The new specification, WISPr 2.0, will provide seamless authentication between Wi-Fi networks and other access networks like GSM/UMTS/LTE and WiMAX. WISPr 2.0 will also make roaming easier and help overcome interoperability problems, making it much easier for end users to login.

Commenting on the three day event, Chris Bruce, CEO of BT Openzone and Chair of the WBA said, "Demand for Wi-Fi access in the 'third place' is growing, as more and more consumers want to stay connected in indoor locations outside the home or office. Uptake of smartphones and tablet devices has seen a rising number of companies offering Wi-Fi as part of their service mix and we are delighted to open the alliance to new members. We are excited about the upcoming meeting where together across the eco-system we will work on how we can make Wi-Fi even easier for customers to use."

A WISPr 2.0 trial will be launched at the event. The trial brings WBA members and industry partners together to demonstrate how mobile, cable, WiMAX and broadband service providers can seamlessly connect to Wi-Fi networks by taking advantage of WISPr 2.0 specification. Participants will work with leading wireless broadband operators to make their equipment and software compatible with WISPr 2.0 and to support seamless authentication on public Wi-Fi networks around the world. The initial trial is expected last six months.

The WBA's goal is to drive wireless broadband adoption globally by developing common commercial and technical frameworks for interoperability across networks, technologies and devices. Members jointly develop specifications to deliver reliable, trustworthy and seamless wireless services. The group now includes a unique mix of leading roaming providers and operators, vendors and other ecosystem partners offering wireless services across Wi-Fi, WiMAX and mobile broadband networks. The event is made possible by the hosts and sponsors, namely Boingo, iPass, Quiconnect and Vex.

About the Wireless Broadband Alliance

The Wireless Broadband Alliance ("WBA") was founded in 2003 by leading telecoms operators. Its goal is to drive wireless broadband adoption globally by developing common commercial and technical frameworks for interoperability across networks, technologies and devices. It helps its members to deliver quality services with consistent customer experience and reliability to the users worldwide.

The WBA members have successfully implemented commercial Wi-Fi roaming globally using WBA WRIX (Wireless Roaming Intermediary Exchange), an award winning modularised standard service specifications developed by WBA. The WBA WRIX makes it easier to implement roaming between WBA members and reduces times to market for new operators interested in expanding global roaming footprint. The WBA is also collaborating with other industry forums to further enhance WRIX and help harmonise wireless broadband roaming standards including support for Dual Mode devices and WIMAX roaming.

The WBA includes pioneers in the wireless broadband field and its 39 members include leading operators (e.g. BT, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, NTT, AT&T, KT Corporation) offering wireless services across Wi-Fi, WiMAX and Mobile broadband networks and roaming providers. Collectively, the WBA members operate over 100,000 Wi-Fi hotpots worldwide and have a pool of more than 350 million subscribers across Europe, Asia Pacific and Americas.

For more information, visit or call 212/731-2406.
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Publication:RBOC Update
Date:Jun 29, 2010

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