Tatara and Wayport Offer Trial Hotspot Service for Carriers

By Eric Griffith

July 28, 2003

In an attempt to make it easier and cheaper for carriers to get into the Wi-Fi business, Tatara is reselling Wayport connectivity as part of a a six-month trial of its platfrom, complete with branded client software, all for those who want a direct relationship with the subscribers.

Acton, Mass.-based Tatara Systems, which provides a full Wi-Fi Service Delivery Platform for carriers looking to get into the hotspot business, this week announced a deal with wired and wireless network provider Wayport of Austin, Texas. The two will spend the next six-months offering trial programs to tier-one carriers who want to try out a offering a self-branded service over Wayport's nationwide network by accessing a hosted version of Tatara's recently announced platform.

The goal is to make it easier for carriers to work with both companies, says Kevin Jackson, co-founder and vice president of marketing and product management at Tatara.

"We got together with Wayport over the past few months and discussed this strategic partnership," says Jackson. "We offer a real world trial opportunity of our Wi-Fi service delivery platform in conjunction with Wayport's live network."

Jackson says carriers his company engages will get a hosted version of the Tatara platform setup on a trial basis, which enables the carrier to provision users onto the system. Users can then connect via the live Wayport network to see the Tatara system running in real-time.

Tatara is focusing this trial on carriers that "want to own the customer relationship," says Jackson. "[We want] the people that want ongoing billing and subscriber relationships." Their focus is on the larger service providers with big brand presence -- all the better to attract and retain subscribers.

Sprint is certainly one of the types of company's Tatara would target. Wayport already has a relationship with them, as well as with carriers like AT&T Wireless and Verizon Wireless. The trial through Tatara does not constitute a business relationship with Wayport however -- that would have to be set up separately by the individual carrier after the trial has ended.

Carriers interested in trying Tatara's platform in this trial can register at their site, TataraSystems.com. Once Tatara has verified the trial as a good fit for all with a decent value proposition, they'll turn on the hosted service and set up the carrier with the hardware needed -- the Tatara Subscriber Gateway. Tatara will then brand client software with the carrier's logo, and the trial can begin.

A new carrier can use the Tatara provided client, or the software can also be manipulated to work with other client software, from in-house solutions to programs like PCTEL's Segue Roaming Client.

Initial trials will be setup free of charge to the carrier, as Tatara doesn't feel there's a huge amount of cost in it right now. If response is overwhelming, that could change. The initial relationship with Wayport is set for six months, but Jackson anticipates that they will extend it past that initial period. He says several carriers are already interested, and they expect to launch the first trial in August.

"Tatara doesn't have any hotspots -- this [trial] has no impact on the footprint of Wayport," says Jackson. "As a technology vendor to the carriers, we're using this strategic relationship as a proof of concept."



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