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Industry body chief hails Europe’s "bullish" Wi-Fi market


Passpoint 2.0 will grow during the next 12 months as operators move from trialling the technology to deployments and more roaming agreements are signed, the head of the Wi-Fi Alliance has claimed.

Edgar Figueroa described the overall European Wi-Fi market as "bullish", amid recent deployments from the likes of BT, Vodafone and Orange.

He said five global operators have deployed Passpoint 2.0 technology, which allows users to seamlessly connect to supported Wi-Fi networks without having to repeatedly enter log-in details.

A further 25 operators, including Deutsche Telekom and Teliasonera, are trialing the technology currently.

Earlier this month, new features were added to Passpoint, allowing users to connect faster and more securely, as well as the ability for Wi-Fi providers to distribute their own network policies.

Figueroa told Mobile Europe: "Over the next 12 months there will be many rollouts and technology being taken on by operators. From that point on we will see more and more roaming agreements. We have done a lot of work at the back-end to facilitate roaming so that all subscriber information will be harmonised."

He described Wi-Fi as "the lowest common denominator" for operators, with consumers expecting it as a service in addition to cellular coverage. He said: "That creates an impetus for operators in terms of finding out how to provide it."

However, some operators are trying to highlight the importance of their own LTE networks over that of Wi-Fi. Research from UK operator EE earlier this year claimed its LTE customers were favouring 4G over Wi-Fi, although a separate report from Mobidia said Wi-Fi usage was on the up.

Figueroa said he was unconcerned by some operators favouring their own LTE strategy. He explained: "Some operators will have a different spectrum equation or strategy based on their rolling out of coverage or relationship with Wi-Fi vendors. Those sorts of things are all variables."

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