T-Mobile Taps Boingo To Integrate Wi-Fi, GPRS

NEW ORLEANS — Aiming to tie its Wi-Fi and GPRS 2.5G data networks together as a seamless whole, T-Mobile USA Tuesday forged a partnership with Boingo Wireless.

Boingo Chairman and CEO Sky Dayton dropped the announcement during his keynote discussion at CTIA Wireless 2003 Tuesday.

Under the deal, Boingo will custom develop a client-server solution which uses standards and the private-label Boingo Platform Services, which, once installed on a customer’s laptop or PDA, will help the customer locate, sign-up, and log onto the T-Mobile HotSpot service. However, customers will still have the option of accessing T-Mobile’s hotspot network with only a browser.

Future versions of the T-Mobile software co-developed with Boingo will allow users to manage their connections between T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi and GPRS networks. The two said customers will be able to designate their network preferences or choose to get connected at the best available network speed, and the software will automatically connect them to the network of their choice.

To aid it with the integration, Boingo also announced a multi-year licensing agreement with PCTEL Tuesday, under which PCTEL will provide Boingo with software modules for Windows and PocketPC platforms that will allow users of Boingo’s leading Wi-Fi access software to connect to so-called 2.5 networks, including GPRS, 1XRTT (CDMA) and iDEN systems.

The initial version of the software Boingo is co-developing with T-Mobile will include help files which feature a FAQ, a built-in searchable location directory to help customers find the nearest T-Mobile HotSpot, and a streamlined setup process designed to help customers connect and move between T-Mobile HotSpots and wireless networks in their homes and offices.

“Boingo and T-Mobile share a common vision: that bringing Wi-Fi and 2.5G networks together into a single convenient service is the equivalent of wireless nirvana,” Dayton said during his keynote interview. “Wi-Fi hot spots continue to spread like wildfire and in the next few years will cover all well-populated areas providing ultra-high-speed, low-cost access. However, Wi-Fi is not a WAN, so to meet customers needs for complete mobility solutions Wi-Fi and 2.5G must come together into a single integrated offering.”

The two companies also said they will custom develop the software to integrate special site-specific content and promotions for T-Mobile’s partners, which include Starbucks, Borders, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines’ clubs and lounges.

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