Sprint Adds New WiFi Roaming Partners

Remember just a couple of short years ago when public WiFi was all the rage, but we complained that there was no roaming among hotspot providers. Well, it seems that all the attention has left WiFi hotspots, and shifted to muni meshes, and BWA technology (yeah, one in particular). Well, when the analysts were paying attention, we said that the WiFi world needed roaming agreements, and it needed them faster than was likely possible. But that was then, and now Sprint has announced a boatload of new WiFi roaming agreements which bring it’s total number of in-network hotspots up to 19,000 worldwide. The new deals include Quiconnect, Fiberlink Communications, Opti-Fi, Pronto Networks, and Nomadix. This sounds good, but the devil is in the details for hotspot roaming: will the customers have good info on where the hotspots are, and will the logon be simple and easy for roaming Sprint WiFi subscribers? It probably will, and so this will be useful to a small minority of people who need connectivity frequently in a few of the places that have hotspots, but real roamers (the kind for whom 19,000 hotspots might be interesting) are going to find better wide-area solutions like EV-DO, TDD, and (yes, even) metro/mesh-WiFi, and UMTS. The solutions will cover the hotspots, and also the coldspots in between. I say WiFi roaming would have been great 2 years ago. Now it’s too little, too late.

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