The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) today approved an agreement between Canada’s four wireless carriers to offer interoperable public Wi-Fi hotspots. The service currently offered by Bell, Fido, Telus and Rogers will extend throughout the country and offer seamless use of Wi-Fi to all network users. A generic secure login system will go along with the new “hotspot” brand, as well as integrated payments for usage on your existing carrier bill.
See press release below.
Canadian Wireless Industry Announces Wi-Fi Roaming Agreement
Inter-carrier agreement creates common brand and allows for roaming between
Wi-Fi hotspots in Canada
OTTAWA, ON – Canada’s national wireless carriers today announced they have signed an inter-carrier agreement that establishes common standards for roaming and interoperability of the public Wi-Fi hotspots they operate. In addition, the carriers have joined together to create a common brand identifier for Wi-Fi hotspots in Canada. Today’s announcement by Bell Mobility, Microcell Solutions (Fido), Rogers AT&T Wireless and TELUS Mobility serves as confirmation of the carriers’ commitment to develop Wi-Fi in Canada.
Under the terms of the agreement, all public commercial hotspots operated by the carriers, and any other Canadian operator or hotspot owner who meets the minimum requirements and chooses to join the roaming alliance, will be branded consistently with the common hotspot identifier. When customers access Wi-Fi service in any location with the hotspot identifier, they can expect to be presented with an identical, browser-based login area, ensuring a simple, consistent and secure experience in all locations.
This agreement will also simplify payment options for customers who use Wi-Fi access at one of the branded hotpots. Currently customers must use a credit card and pay in advance for high-speed wireless Internet access using Wi-Fi. Once fully operational, customers of Canada’s national wireless carriers will be able to charge their Wi-Fi usage to their existing bills from their wireless provider, as per the methods of payment offered by each of the carriers.
“Increasing the number of locations and providing consistency of service will eliminate two of the biggest barriers to Wi-Fi gaining mainstream popularity,” said Peter Barnes, President and CEO of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA). “Today’s announcement not only eliminates these barriers, but with the common brand identifier, connection methods and technology standards, it creates a solid foundation for widespread Wi-Fi market adoption in Canada.”
In an effort to spur the availability of public commercial hotspots, the four carriers have committed to build more than 500 hotspot locations over the next year. Based on current estimates, this build will more than double the number of locations in Canada.
The four carriers will demonstrate inter-carrier roaming and present details of the initiative at this week’s Wi-FiPower 2004 conference in Toronto. Roaming between the four wireless carriers’ hotspots is expected to be available this fall.