The Wi-Fi Alliance is rolling out several enhancements to its Wi-Fi Certified Passpoint offering that moves towards making it simpler for service providers to lay on dedicated Wi-Fi networks to users.
Customers can now take advantage of an online sign-up process at the point of access as well as immediate account provisioning, secure registration across all devices, and operators can distribute specific policies for certain subscribers.
“The new features are important because they enable Passpoint's value proposition by making it simple to connect millions of Wi-Fi-only devices to secure, trusted Passpoint venues. Wi-Fi providers - including fixed, mobile, retail and hospitality services - should take note,” said Ken Rehbehn, principal analyst in the 451 Research Mobility Team.
As part of the enhancements, operators are able to dictate which networks customers join with an order of preference given to mobile subscribers to allow for a better experience.
Passpoint was originally established back in 2012 to streamline access for mobile customers when it comes to Wi-Fi hotspots and make sure that devices connect automatically to certain networks within in range. This in effect means the service provided to customers feels more like a rounded cellular network with the added bonus of WPA2 security thrown into the bargain.
The Wi-Fi Alliance also confirmed that new smartphones, tablets and access points are being added all the time and Boingo, Orange, SK Telecom, Time Warner Cable and Telekom Indonesia have all implemented Passpoint networks.
Research published alongside the news showed that 68 per cent of UK and US customers would switch providers if a Passpoint-enabled service was on offer at a competitor.
At present UK customers are able to connect to millions of hotspots across the UK courtesy of O2 Wi-Fi’s service that is free for everyone and unlimited access to some five million BT Wi-Fi hotspots is available to all EE, Orange and T-Mobile users. Virgin Mobile customers, meanwhile, are able to use free Wi-Fi on the London Underground as part of their monthly tariff.