Trustive Expands Footprint

By Eric Griffith

May 25, 2005

The European hotspot aggregator will increase the number of locations its subscribers can use, through a roaming deal with Airpath.

Moving from around 9,400 hotspots worldwide to 12,000, overnight, is a big step for any provider of Wi-Fi connectivity services. European aggregator Trustive is doing so through a deal with Airpath.

Trustive will add the 2,600 venues that are part of the Airpath Provider Alliance (APA) to its footprint immediately—the company's Web site is already boasting that it has 12,126 sites, and according to Trustive's managing director, Gavin Dresselhuis, that exact number indicates hotspots that "are live and active -- nothing just signed; all are available to the end user."

Trustive, like Boingo Wireless in the U.S., doesn't run its own hotspots, but provides an umbrella of access to sites run by a number of providers. Trustive sells access both at the consumer/retail level, and at the wholesale level to other providers. Users can utilize Trustive client software, or sign up through Web pages accessed at Trustive member locations.

Because Trustive is an aggregator without its own network, this is a one-way roaming deal. Subscribers on networks in the APA are not guaranteed full roaming access on networks partnered with Trustive. Such deals would have to be worked out separately with Airpath.

Trustive already had approximately 900 hotspots in North America through previous deals with WISPs like Surf and Sip and NetNearU.

Todd Myers, President of Airpath, says the roaming deal gives Trustive "instant footprint," particularly in North America, and notes that the deal includes more than just APA roaming. Trustive will become a member of the InterRoam clearinghouse platform. There are 10,000 hotspots operated by members of InterRoam -- so, not counting those in the APA, membership gives Trustive access to a potential total of 7,400 more hotspots and citywide hotzones.

"As an aggregator, [Trustive is always] negotiating agreements with network operators," Myers says. "Because they're in our InterRoam service now, they can negotiate agreements more quickly."

Myers describes InterRoam as similar to "eBay for network operators and those that want to buy access... it facilitates the dialogue, negotiation, contractual process, and the contracts themselves quickly."

Trustive costs either 15, 25, or 40 Euros per month, with the monthly fee going toward per-minute charges that vary depending on the plan and location. The company also now offers a pre-paid plan.

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