Study: Easier Wi-Fi access could lure smartphones, tablet users

According to a new survey released by the Wi-Fi Alliance, 70 percent of smartphone and tablet users would swap service providers to get streamlined Wi-Fi access while 72 percent said they would be willing to pay for easier Wi-Fi access.

The poll of 1,000 U.S. smartphone and tablet users, conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of the alliance, also revealed that 85 percent of respondents prefer to connect via Wi-Fi over cellular for at least one common online activity, 83 percent would do more on their device if Wi-Fi were more widely available and 87 percent agreed that they want "greater Wi-Fi availability for my device."

Edgar Figueroa, CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance, told FierceBroadbandWireless that the survey results justify the group's push for the Wi-Fi Certified Passpoint, a certification program for devices and infrastructure equipment that will launch in June 2012.

Among other things, Passpoint-certified devices will automatically identify and join Wi-Fi networks, and users will not be required to complete a manual login process. Passpoint also automatically configures industry-standard WPA2 security protections without user intervention. Passpoint certification is based on the Wi-Fi Alliance Hotspot 2.0 Specification, which draws on some elements of the IEEE 802.11u standard.

Figueroa said that according to ABI Research, nearly all smartphones will be Wi-Fi enabled by 2014. Further, he said mobile devices made up some 30 percent of all Wi-Fi Alliance product certifications in 2011.

In related news, according to an article in ComputerWorld, of the nation's four biggest wireless carriers only T-Mobile USA has revealed plans to deploy Passpoint. A T-Mobile spokesperson told the publication that once the Passpoint certification process starts, "we expect that our Connection Manager on our devices will leverage Passpoint as an authentication mechanism."

For more:
- see this ComputerWorld article

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