AT&T, Boingo Wireless will help WBA foster Wi-Fi roaming

AT&T (NYSE:T), China Mobile and hotspot aggregator Boingo Wireless are among companies signing onto an initiative aimed at creating technical and commercial frameworks to advance Wi-Fi roaming across different service providers' networks.

The Interoperability Compliancy Program (ICP) is being introduced by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), which hopes to reduce fragmentation in the way devices connect to and roam onto Wi-Fi networks. The ICP aims to align guidelines for operators regarding security, data offload, device authentication, network implementation, network selection, charging models and billing mechanisms.

The ICP also will outline guidelines for operators with different support levels. "These range from simple integration requirements for roaming partners, to delivering support for the latest in session security, to more complex charging models and billing mechanisms required for the implementation of Next Generation Hotspots (NGH)," said the WBA.

Other companies confirming their participation in the program include the United Kingdom's BT, Korea Telecom, Japan's NTT DoCoMo, Hong Kong's PCCW, Canada's Shaw Communications, the Philippines' Smart Communications and Thailand's True.

"The ICP helps players across the Wi-Fi ecosystem work together to deliver a more simplified roaming experience. By encouraging our members to go that extra mile to expedite interoperability, consumers worldwide will benefit from a far superior connectivity experience wherever they are," said WBA CEO Shrikant Shenwai.

In parallel with the launch of the ICP, the WBA released its Wi-Fi Roaming Guidelines, a guide to help operators develop a Wi-Fi roaming business based on the WBA's Wireless Roaming Intermediary Exchange (WRIX).The WBA said it also is offering service providers a "Wi-Fi Roaming Compliancy Check," which can be used promote their compliancy and roaming capabilities.

For more:
- see this WBA release

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