The GSMA and Wireless Broadband Alliance announced today a new partnership in order to simplify smartphone connectivity to wireless hotspots. Right now, there are so many different providers offering their own hotspots that getting on to them individually can be a pain, requiring multiple login credentials. The GSMA and WBA’s hope is to standardize on a universal login.
The idea is to begin using the phone’s SIM card as an authentication for WiFi roaming. WiFi roaming will be based on WBA’s “Next Generation Hotspot” program, plus the “Certified Passpoint” initiative. That will allow devices to locate Passpoint networks in the background, as well as doing away with a browser-based login system.
All of this is to make sure you’re connected to a WiFi network whenever possible, taking strain off mobile networks as consumers continue to pile on to limited spectrum and bandwidth availability. What the GSMA and WBA are proposing would require a lot of work, though: mobile operators with their own wireless hotspots would need to be onboard, and then the new SIM authentication would need to be implemented into every new smartphone. There’s also the problem of making sure existing smartphones would work with the new technology.
There’s no timeline for any of this, either. By the time any of this is available, mobile networks could be faster than what the average wireless hotspot has to offer, not to mention the promise of more power efficient LTE chipsets on the horizon.