Boingo Adds New Partners

By Gretchen Hyman

February 26, 2003

The wireless service provider fortifies its roster of hot spot operators and crowns itself the largest hot spot aggregator in the Wi-Fi industry.

While some wireless networks like Joltage recently shuttered its doors and San Jose, Calif.-based hot spot aggregator hereUare is still reeling from the loss of its partnership with MobileStar, wireless Internet service provider (WISP) Boingo Wireless was in forward motion this week adding a handful of new partnerships to its network and crowning itself the largest hot spot aggregator in the Wi-Fi industry.

Chalking up its roster of hotspot operators to 25, Santa Monica, Calif.-based Boingo Wednesday signed contracts with Cafe.com, Deep Blue Wireless, and Azure Wireless of Melbourne, Australia, bringing it one step closer to creating a single worldwide Wi-Fi network.

According to the company, Boingo's deal with Los Angeles-based Cafe.com is a two-pronged roaming partnership. Boingo will integrate Cafe.com's Southern California-based high-speed wireless hotspots into its network, and Cafe.com will serve as a Boingo hotspot aggregator by transitioning additional Wi-Fi hotspots into the Boingo network with its installation solution, so that cafe owners can become functional as wireless hotspots with less effort and hassle.

According to representatives for Cafe.com, each of its hotspot locations are powered by a 'Hot Spot Access Controller,' which is based on 802.11b technology. For cafe owners who want to become a "hotspot" and join a network, all they need is a digital subscriber line (DSL) and Cafe.com will handle any additional installations, sales, marketing, and technical support. New cafe hotspots will be added to the Boingo network as they become available, the company said.

The addition of Menlo Park, Calif.-based Deep Blue Wireless to the Boingo network is another big win for Boingo by giving the WISP a steep gain on the hospitality industry.

Deep Blue has a wide footprint in the hotel and corporate events industries by offering integrated products and hotspot access to hotels and conference centers looking to accommodate high-tech patrons in their rooms and event centers.

Adding to Deep Blue's product offerings is a partnership with Friendlyway Kiosks, a company that makes wireless Internet-enabled kiosks. The kiosks are designed as a high-tech service to a hotel or an event producer who wants to expand high-speed Internet access services to travelers and executives either via hotel lobbies or on the exhibitor's floor of a conference center.

According to Deep Blue's CEO, Alan Gale, hundreds of Friendlyway Kiosks have already been sold to hotels and private companies.

Gale added that the partnership with Boingo will be mutually beneficial for both companies. Boingo will gain access to Deep Blue's edge in the hospitality industry in return for access to Boingo's "ready-made" customer base of established Wi-Fi users.

"It brings more clout to our offering because we now have an established user base for that potential hotel," said Gale. "A lot of people choose where they stay in hotels depending on the availability of broadband."

Additionally, Boingo's partnership with Australia's Azure Wireless adds to Boingo's growing international partnerships in 10 countries outside of the US.

Boingo's Wi-Fi network is based on partnerships with EarthLink and Fiberlink and provides access to 1,200 hotspots nationwide in airports, cafes, and hotels.



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