Influential Technology Companies & Operators join Wireless Broadband Alliance

Aicent Inc.

New members aim to improve seamless Wi-Fi Experience globally

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (“WBA”), a pioneer in global wireless broadband roaming for public Wi-Fi networks, has announced that its membership numbers are swelling as 10 more influential organisations join the Alliance.

At the 18th WBA Roundtable Conference & WBA Partners’ Day in Auckland 2010, new technology members joining the alliance will include global giants such as Intel and Google, leading Wi-Fi network vendors such as Aruba Networks, Meru Networks and Ruckus Wireless, as well as the specialist roaming solution providers Accuris Networks and Aicent Inc. New operator members include NTT DOCOMO, one of the world’s largest mobile communications operators and TTNet a leading broadband operator from Türk Telekom group. These additions bring the total number of new members joining the group in 2010 alone to 16.

The Alliance now includes a unique mix of leading technology providers and ecosystem partners in addition to the leading Wi-Fi, mobile and broadband network operators from across Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Chris Bruce, CEO of BT Openzone and chair of the WBA said, “All of the WBA Partners have always been united by two common objectives. Firstly, these organisations want to work together to make the Wi-Fi experience easier for the customers. Secondly, there is a real focus on creating new opportunities for 3G Wi-Fi roaming. We are excited about welcoming new partners because, with their own new perspective and expertise, they can only help us make these objectives a reality.”

Lynn Liu, president and CEO of Aicent Inc. said, “Because of its ubiquitous use around the world, Wi-Fi is evolving into an important mobile access technology for Aicent’s mobile operator customers. As one of the most important global Wi-Fi specification bodies, the WBA is instrumental in the creation of Wi-Fi roaming standards. Aicent is working with WBA members as partners in the creation of the framework for global Wi-Fi roaming. What’s more, the WBA provides Aicent an essential forum to engage in strategic industry and commercial discussions with important industry peers.”

Gilbert Little, Chairman of Accuris Networks said, “Seamless integration and roaming between 3G and Wi-Fi networks has become critical for many mobile operators. We have been working with our customer base to make data offload and Wi-Fi roaming a reality and we feel the best way to realize this in the wider marketplace is to work with Alliance. We look forward to help accelerate the adoption of the required elements within the mobile and Wi-Fi networks and in the devices to enable Mobile operators to leverage the many benefits of integrated Wi-Fi access.”

Cedric Gonin, Orange Wi-Fi Director and Co-Chair of the WBA said, “The key challenge faced by Wi-Fi ecosystem is to provide a homogeneous customer experience. This can be addressed only if the operators, device and networks manufacturers and roaming service providers all share a common objective and work together to build it. We are happy that by extending the WBA community to different kind of ecosystem players, we are now well positioned to make it happen shortly.”

The Alliance’s efforts to make Wi-Fi services easier and more secure for customers are ongoing. The most recent example has been the WISPr 2.0 trial which was launched at the last WBA event in June 2010. The trial has aimed to demonstrate how mobile, cable, WiMAX and broadband service providers can seamlessly connect to Wi-Fi networks by taking advantage of WISPr 2.0 specification. This WBA trial now includes 20 industry participants including Wi-Fi, Mobile and WiMAX operators along with roaming hub providers, network infrastructure and technology vendors. At the Auckland event, the early adopters of WISPr 2.0 specifications from the WBA membership are expected to share initial results. A number of mobile operators are participating in the next stage of the trial to show how WISPr 2.0 can help support seamless Wi-Fi connectivity and 3G-Wi-Fi offload opportunities from mobile devices using EAP-SIM authentication.

The 18th WBA Roundtable Conference is being co-hosted by WBA member Tomizone Limited from New Zealand, one of the largest providers of Wi-Fi Hotspot services in Australasia and the Pacific. At the conference, the WBA members will also discuss the roadmap for further enhancing Wi-Fi user experience, inter-operability and service delivery. The work-areas are expected to include new developments to support a seamless Wi-Fi experience, 3G-Wi-Fi offload and roaming interoperability and compliancy requirements.

The WBA’s goal is to drive wireless broadband adoption globally by developing common commercial and technical frameworks for Wi-Fi interoperability across networks, technologies and devices. Members jointly develop specifications to deliver reliable, trustworthy and seamless wireless services.

About the Wireless Broadband Alliance
The Wireless Broadband Alliance (“WBA”) was founded in 2003 by leading telecoms operators. Its goal is to drive wireless broadband adoption globally by developing common commercial and technical frameworks for interoperability across networks, technologies and devices. It helps its members to deliver quality services with consistent customer experience and reliability to the users worldwide.

The WBA members have successfully implemented commercial Wi-Fi roaming globally using WBA WRIX (Wireless Roaming Intermediary Exchange), an award winning modularised standard service specification developed by WBA. The WBA WRIX makes it easier to implement roaming between WBA members and reduces times to market for new operators interested in expanding the global roaming footprint. The WBA is also collaborating with other industry forums to further enhance WRIX and help harmonise wireless broadband roaming standards including support for Dual Mode devices and WIMAX roaming.

The WBA includes pioneers in the wireless broadband field and its 46 members include leading operators and technology providers with a strategic focus on enabling seamless Wi-Fi services across devices, technologies and networks. The current Board members of WBA are AT&T, BT, Boingo, Deutsche Telekom, Orange France, Portugal Telecom/TMN, True Corporation & Tata Communications Internet Services. Collectively, the WBA members operate over 180,000 Wi-Fi hotpots worldwide and have a pool of more than 350 million subscribers across Europe, Asia Pacific and Americas. For more information, visit www.wballiance.net.

About Aicent, Inc.
Serving more than 2.5 billion mobile users around the world, Aicent, Inc. is a leading provider of data network services and solutions for global mobile operators. To enable interoperability between Aicent customers and other networks, Aicent operates one of the world’s largest GPRS and 3G network eXchanges, connecting to over 150 operators, including nine of the world’s ten largest. Through extensive peering arrangements, the Aicent network reaches nearly all GPRS/3G operators around the world. Aicent also operates integrated mobile messaging services, including one of the world’s first and largest multimedia messaging eXchanges, and offers other value-added services to help carriers maximize revenue opportunities. Founded in 2000 and headquartered in San Jose, Calif., Aicent has regional offices in the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe. For more information, visit www.aicent.net.

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