How Travel is Embracing the Future of Ubiquitous Wi-Fi
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As technology becomes more advanced, travelers are carrying more data on their mobile devices. As a result, travelers are demanding higher Internet speeds and easier ways to switch to Wi-Fi networks in airports and beyond.
And when there is traveler demand, you can bet there are travel companies out there seeking to satisfy this demand.
In August, Starwood announced that Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Card Members could enjoy free, unlimited Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1 million hotspots worldwide—and pay no Wi-Fi roaming fees—if they enrolled in the Boingo American Express Preferred Plan.
With the partnership, Starwood was identifying major trends in the travel industry. According to SITA, 97 percent of air travelers bring along a smartphone, tablet or laptop when flying, and one in five travels with all three. Another major development: More mobile data traffic will be transferred from cellular networks to Wi-Fi networks (a process known as “Wi-Fi offloading”) than will remain on cellular networks by 2016, according to an update on mobile data by the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) in February.
Boingo currently offers service called “Passpoint Secure.” That is, Passpoint-enabled mobile devices will automatically and safely authenticate onto Wi-Fi networks. This allows for seamless transfer between cellular and Wi-Fi service. In addition, Boingo offers Wi-Fi offload services to partners, which can help service providers manage capacity and ensure a good connected experience for customers. In April, a partnership between Boingo and Sprint introduced Wi-Fi offload for Sprint customers at 35 major U.S. airports.
“We’ve seen a lot of interest from major brands and credit card companies in providing Wi-Fi as a customer benefit or loyalty program perk,” said Howard Buzick, vice president of business development at Boingo Wireless. “Connectivity is vital — especially for business travelers — and is a benefit consumers appreciate.”
As more travelers require seamless means to jump on Wi-Fi networks across the world, expect Wi-Fi providers like Boingo and major hotel companies like Starwood to accommodate.
More by Ryan Rudnansky
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