First AT&T cut a data GSM deal with Jasper Wireless. Last week AT&T's Kris Rinne talked about AT&T shouldn't be called a dumb pipe and discussed how the new Ma Bell will do more to lower rates internationally. Today, AT&T tapped Boingo to start to put a dent in coverage holes and give their customers access globally with Wi-FI. As the Verge points out this follows a deal with The Cloud in the UK.
But while Boingo (a former client up to their IPO date) has hundred's of thousands of accessible access points worldwide, the way the press release was phrased leads me to believe that the access is limited to only the actual Boingo owned and operated hotspots, most of which are in major airports and large commercial building or sports facilities.
The key phrase is "managed and operated by Boingo's subsidiary, Concourse Communications Group." Those are not all of the access points in the Boingo worldwide network, but are indeed the ones that Boingo can do things like guarantee a level of service and insure that access really works.
In a lot of ways this is good for Boingo, and their partners. Too often some providers of Wi-Fi hotspots lag in keeping up with all the new standards or implement odd ball authentication schemes that make it difficult for early adopters, or Mac users, to connect. Having experienced this roaming issue first hand as a multi-account Boingo subscriber, I have also expeirenced how effortlessly all my apps work when I connect at a Boingo operated airport vs. a roaming partners' network. VoIP, Video, collaboration and cloud services sometimes work at partner locations. At Boingo locations, everything works.
And for AT&T and their customers, the gold standard approach dictates that everything has to work, or the cost to support it outweighs the value offered.
-- Andy Abramson