New alliance targets automatic device authentication on Wi-Fi

20 MAR 2012

The GSMA and the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) have announced they are working together on a solution that will allow smartphones and tablets to seamlessly roam between Wi-Fi hot spots and mobile networks.

The two industry bodies intend to use SIM card authentication to log devices onto Wi-Fi hotspots, avoiding the need for “device configuration, the use of access keys and the various mechanisms for acquiring and paying for connectivity,” and allowing operators to identify users whether they are on a mobile or Wi-Fi network.

Wi-Fi roaming will be based on the WBA’s ‘Next Generation Hotspot’ programme and the Wi-Fi Alliance’s ‘Passpoint certification’ technology.

The two partners will work towards aligning guidelines on security, billing, data offload, device implementation and network selection to create “a consistent solution” for GSMA and WBA members.

The work will build on the GSMA’s GPRS Roaming Exchange (GRX) and the WBA’s Wireless Roaming Intermediary Exchange (WRIX) roaming models, which – when combined – they claim will “enable billions of consumers around the world to enjoy straightforward Internet connectivity.”