Verizon/Boingo Deal Shows Value in Mobility

July 27, 2009

The news today that Verizon is extending its agreement to use Boingo’s Wi-Fi network to offer mobile broadband to its current landline or fiber broadband customers is just another indication that users want their Internet access to follow them wherever they go during the day.

More mobility, of course, is one of the main attributes of Clearwire’s WiMAX services, especially so when the “4G” of WiMAX is paired with a 3G cellular data service from Sprint — something Clearwire, Sprint and Comcast will all be selling soon to their broadband customers. AT&T is also big on Wi-Fi, but for Verizon one question remains: when will their 3G customers get to share in the fun?

We have an email in to Verizon asking them just that question — no response yet, but maybe we’ll hear more at the big wireless developers shindig Tuesday in San Jose. As Om notes, no matter what the reason for the deal it’s good news for Boingo, and probably for other aggregators like iPass, whose hard work in building alliances and roaming agreements looks like it is paying off as customers just want mobile access — and expect their carriers to do the behind-the-scenes work to make it happen.

UPDATE: Glenn Fleishman at Wi-Fi Net News takes a look at the fine print, and isn’t impressed by Verizon’s apparent stinginess. We would have to agree — limiting use makes this a much less impressive deal.


3G Netbooks, iPhone Modems and Wayport: WiMax Has More to Worry About than LTE

November 7, 2008

When searching for a competitive threat to Sprint and Clearwire’s WiMax services, most observers end up looking at Long Term Evolution (LTE), the next-generation cellular technology publicly favored by AT&T and Verizon. But as recent news has shown, the big telcos aren’t waiting for LTE to start heating up the competition. Instead, they’re pushing harder on 3G-based options and greater Wi-Fi access as perhaps a way to keep customers from ever finding out what the WiMax consumer experience can be.

While laptop manufacturers like Lenovo have told us that WiMax chips are easier and cheaper to embed into notebook PCs than cellular chips, recent reports have HP talking to carriers about subsidizing netbooks with 3G connectivity built in, perhaps at price points as low as $99 (with the obligatory two-year contract). In all our analysis of WiMax’s chances in the U.S., we have always noted that the big carriers might elect to lose money in order to gain or keep market share. Since AT&T has just shown that it’s not afraid to spend almost a billion bucks to be the exclusive iPhone provider, we shouldn’t be surprised if the telcos spend a lot of cash on 3G-equipped netbooks to win or keep wireless data users in their stable.

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