HP expands partnership with iPass, bringing Wi-Fi to more devices worldwide

HP is extending its relationship with iPass, saying it will bring iPass' global Wi-Fi network to HP customers on select HP notebook and tablet PCs worldwide.

Customers who purchase new select HP notebooks, hybrid PCs, phablets and tablets with the iPass option will be able to access millions of hotspots on the iPass global Wi-Fi network for one, two or three years at no additional cost starting this year. The user experience involves one-click activation and single sign on – a process that's key for making Wi-Fi easier to use and roam onto -- and it includes last-mile VPN encryption for privacy and security.

"We've heard from our customers that as they become increasingly mobile, they need affordable, seamless connectivity no matter where they are located across the globe," said Michael Park, vice president and general manager, Mobility, at HP, in a press release. "We are excited to continue our collaboration with iPass to bring its global Wi-Fi network to our customers, so they can keep doing amazing things and stay connected in more places."

Just last week, iPass CEO Gary Griffiths was asked during the company's fourth-quarter conference call that if Hewlett-Packard hypothetically were to expand its relationship with iPass beyond Asia, how many more devices it would cover? Griffiths said if iPass were to expand its relationship with HP, it would open it up to the rest of the world, and of course there would be upside in that, but he said there was nothing to announce at that time, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.

iPass' collaboration with HP is in addition to what it's doing with Microsoft. Last year, iPass announced a long-term agreement to offer global connectivity to users of certain Microsoft products and services. That multi-year agreement gave Microsoft customers access to more than 18 million Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide. Since then, iPass has been steadily adding more coverage. Its integration with Fon and Devicespace means it's supporting more than 50 million hotspots via its network.

Since Griffiths and Chief Commercial Officer Patricia Hume joined the company last year, they've cut out a layer of management and are expecting their latest restructuring to affect 60 employees. CFO Darin Vickery acknowledged during the earnings conference call that the company's network of Wi-Fi users was flat this past year, with churn pretty much offsetting all of its growth, but they expect to see growth in 2016 in the number of devices that have its client on them.

In fact, Griffiths said that management believes it is possible that iPass could be embedded on 1 billion devices by the end of next year, up from 5 million devices on which it's embedded now. The partnerships with companies like HP, Microsoft and others are helping add to the ranks.

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