The Competitive Carriers Association kicked off its annual convention in Las Vegas by announcing a partnership with Boingo Wireless to offer Wi-Fi offload services to carriers. For CCA’s regional carriers, Wi-Fi offload could mean the ability to offer coverage nationwide, and even internationally. Boingo bills itself as the nation’s top hotspot aggregator and says it has negotiated more than 100 roaming agreements worldwide, giving its users access to half a million hotspots in 83 countries.
Even closer to home, carriers will need an offload solution, according to CCA president and CEO Steve Berry, who says 22% of mobile traffic will be offloaded to Wi-Fi by 2016. CCA says that so far this year mobile subscribers have used 500-800 MBs of data per month, with total data usage averaging up to 4 GB per month when Wi-Fi usage is included.
The Boingo Wi-Fi service will be a “white label” offering, meaning that carriers can rebrand it as part of their service. Boingo’s competitors in this space include HarborLink, Anyfi Networks, and BelAir Networks, recently acquired by Ericsson.
The CCA currently has more than 100 members with service areas cover more than 95% of the United States. The only major carriers who are not part of CCA are AT&T and Verizon, the nation’s two largest carriers. AT&T already has more than 30,000 Wi-Fi hotspots, and Verizon is expected to get access to 50,000 hotspots through its alliance with a group of cable providers who have created a hotspot network called CableWiFi.
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