iPass launches Wi-Fi exchange

Enterprise mobility service vendor iPass has launched a zero-click mobile data offload plan it says will allow service providers to deliver wifi connectivity that functions like data roaming, automatically connecting users to preferred networks.

The Open Mobile Exchange (iOMX) service integrates with 3G and LTE networks and allows providers to re-sell their own wifi networks to other operators within the exchange, a feature that iPass says will “expedite the process of bilateral network connectivity, increasing speed to market and avoiding expensive build-outs of Radio Access and core networks.”

According to iPass CEO Evan Kaplan, “the next wave of wifi is becoming a mobile operator phenomenon.” The technology has gained traction among carriers looking to address mobile data congestion on their networks by offloading it onto wifi at congestion points or in order to drive on-selling of other goods and services.

Deutsche Telekom has recently announced its wifi Mobilise service, based on iOMX,  that offers partners a network services exchange for in-country and international roaming. Earlier this year, Japanese operator KDDI  announced a similar deal with US-based wifi provider Ruckus Wireless that the latter claimed was the “world’s largest wifi access and mobile offload network” making 100,000 Japanese hotspots available to KDDI’s  32 million subscribers free of charge. KDDI said it was going to use wifi to backhaul traffic over its WiMAX network. Ruckus’ claims for “world’s largest” status may be dented somewhat by iPass’s announcement that its’ service “leverages the world’s largest commercial-grade network of half a million hotspots.”

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