by Mike Masnick

Intel Tries To Make WiFi Roaming Easier

from the maybe,-but... dept

It's clear that one issue holding back wider use of WiFi hotspots is the fact that the market is so fragmented. While there are plenty of free hotspots, one of the problems in getting people to sign up for paid hotspots is that the coverage is so sporadic and every place seems to be supported by a different provider. If you really want widespread coverage, you need accounts with a variety of different providers - which becomes ridiculously expensive. While the different hotspot builders and aggregators have been trying to negotiate roaming agreements, Intel has gotten fed up with the process and has routed around a number of their own partners to create RoamPoint, which is designed to be a single place for providers to create across the board roaming arrangements in Europe so that they don't have to negotiate with each and every other provider. They're modeling it after how roaming agreements are set up with GSM networks. That sounds good in theory, but there are still some hurdles. First, they need to get the providers to agree to it. It's noteworthy that the announcement of RoamPoint didn't seem to come with any news of providers actually using the service. Also, they've just added yet another mouth to feed out of tiny hotspot fees. Now, for every paid hotspot you have a mix of some or all of the following: the retail location owner, the hotspot provider, the bandwidth provider, the aggregator and the roaming provider. It seems difficult to figure out where the profit is.

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