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Zuckerberg, FCC Chairman Wheeler and ‘seamless WiFi’ to roll up at MWC

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via Flickr © masochismtango (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The GSMA today announced keynote speakers for Mobile World Congress. It’s become a sort of tradition to secure the year’s telecoms industry disruptors, put them up in stage and see what they have to say for themselves. Past figures hauled up in front of the class have included Google’s Eric Schmidt and WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum (who announced that he was going to launch a voice service).  

This year it’s the face of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, and bureaucrat of the moment in the US, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler. Wheeler will no doubt be explaining why net neutrality is a good idea, not sure about Zuckerberg.

But there will be another, to now, dubious character in attendance at MWC: a seamless ‘Next Generation WiFi network’ is to be demonstrated, just to reinforce the now widespread acceptance of the technology.

The network is a joint effort between the GSMA and Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) and “will provide a cellular-like experience for Wi-Fi, using Next Generation Hotspot (NGH) and Wi-Fi certified  Passpoint technology, further underlining the technologies suitability for mobile operators wanting to enhance their existing network infrastructure,” says the press release.

It will be a public network operating at Fira Gran Via and will enable automatic authentication of devices for the subscribers of over 30 participating networks including; AT&T, BT, China Mobile, Fon, KT, Orange, Portugal Telecom, SK Telecom, Telstra and TELUS.

 “There is no indication that the proliferation of smart devices, and consumers’ appetite for data show any signs of abating,” said Dan Warren, Senior Director of Technology at the GSMA. “As a result, NGH Wi-Fi technology represents an ideal solution for mobile operators who wish to augment their existing network infrastructure with a technology that is convenient, accessible and readily available, and uses their existing installed base of SIM cards to make attachment an effortless process.”

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