Sprint, back in 2001 was one of the first investors in Boingo. Back then, the idea of a commercial Wi-Fi network was viewed as far-fetched. For starters very few devices even had Wi-Fi. Mobile and data were just getting started, and the need while there, wasn't nearly as necessary as it is today.
Over the last 14 years Sprint and Boingo have had a series of relationships, so when news broke this past week about Boingo and Sprint cutting a Wi-Fi Seamless Roaming agreement, I wasn't surprised. Beyond the investment, Boingo has always had an agreement where Sprint customers could roam on the Boingo network. What's more, back in 2007, Boingo acquired Sprint's seven Wi-Fi airport network which included notably Oakland International and Houston's Hobby International amongst others.
With the news, it feels like the new Sprint sees the same value in Boingo that their predecessors did, and now they can reap the fruits of their historical relationship and investment.
The key to this relationship, and pretty much all Wi-Fi offload/seamless roaming is summed up best in the news release:
Sprint devices within proximity of a Boingo hotspot can automatically connect to the Wi-Fi network seamlessly, providing service at the fastest speeds available, be that cellular from Sprint or Wi-Fi from Boingo. The auto-authenticating Wi-Fi connections are available at no additional charge to all Sprint customers with capable devices, and usage while connected to Wi-Fi does not count towards a customer’s monthly service plan. Sprint and Boingo conducted successful market trials with millions of Sprint handsets, which demonstrated the consumer benefits of effortless authentication onto Boingo’s network.