Quiconnect announces that it has negotiated further agreements with service providers and network operators in Canada, Hong Kong and South Africa to broaden Sprint’s WLAN coverage as the US-based carrier expands broadband wireless connectivity for its corporate users travelling globally. New access and interconnect service agreements have been signed – effective immediately – with FatPort (Canada), BeeNet (Hong Kong), and Internet Solutions (South Africa) adding over 900 hotspot locations in these countries for Sprint’s enterprise customers.
Quiconnect has been rapidly building Sprint’s WLAN presence outside North America since being chosen in April 2005 as its preferred WLAN partner. The company has been working closely with associated network operators to create a virtual network for Sprint globally, managing all user authentication and billing, and enabling a consistent Sprint-branded customer experience irrespective of the actual local service provider or network operator used. Customers will receive only one bill from Sprint, no matter how many network operators are used or countries visited.
Capitalising on its industry expertise and innovative business model, Quiconnect swiftly signed a variety of deals in 2005 for Sprint with The Cloud (through its RoamPoint division), Hub Tйlйcom (formerly ADP Tйlйcom), and PT Wi-Fi, part of Portugal Telecom Group. The new agreements announced today broaden the scope of WLAN coverage for Sprint outside Europe to locations where its customers frequently travel.
Andrew Schultz, Quiconnect’s director of marketing and strategy, says, “Sprint has given us a clear mandate to sign up local service providers where quality footprint can be added to enhance Sprint’s global WLAN network. We’ve been solely focused on doing so last year and will build on this success in 2006.”
The arrangement with Canada’s largest hotspot provider, Vancouver-based, FatPort, will provide WLAN access throughout the country at numerous hotels, restaurants and cafes, and other public places including yacht clubs and retail chains. This is a bilateral deal so Fatport’s customers benefit from accessing Sprint-owned hotspots such as various USA airports while Sprint customer’s have nationwide access to its infrastructure.
Part of the attraction of partnering with Quiconnect is that the business model also supports voice over Wi-Fi services – Internet telephony being a key aspect of FatPort’s business through its mobitus VoIP division.
“Bilateral agreements, like this one with Quiconnect, are the smartest way of adding enormous value to our customer accounts,” says FatPort’s VP of Business Development Michael Kuhlmann. “The next step is providing value-added services like the mobitus VoIP product – something Quiconnect has taken the lead in accommodating.”
The contract signed with network operator, BeeNet, provides Sprint corporate customers access to 220 hotspot locations in Hong Kong through its Y5Zone subsidiary including popular shopping centres, restaurants and fast food chains throughout the city.
Quiconnect has also added Internet Solutions’ hotspot locations to the Sprint WLAN virtual network. This is a significant addition as Internet Solutions (a Dimension Data company), along with South African ISP, MWeb, and ACSA (Airports Company South Africa), established a joint venture company in August 2004 to develop Wi-Fi coverage at major, high traffic locations in South Africa including airports, retail and hospitality centres. Today, the joint venture runs 80% of hotspot locations in South Africa including Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg airports.
To simplify the WLAN connection process, Sprint launched Extended Workplace in 2005, a software client for laptops that identifies and displays a menu of connectivity choices and gives users the option to point, click and get connected regardless of the access type . Extended Workplace ensures that customers benefit from a secure, simple and consistent Sprint-branded user experience wherever they are around the world.
Mark Brigman, Sprint’s WLAN business development manager, comments, “Quiconnect has signed a raft of partners for us in just 9 months and seamlessly provided the technical and financial interconnectivity to ensure total WLAN service availability. We’re delighted with the speed of roll out and our ability to provide broader WLAN coverage globally.”
Quiconnect is a specialist systems integrator providing interconnectivity management solutions to telecommunications carriers in the wireless broadband sector. Quiconnect provides custom tools, technology, and services to manage interconnections for multiple bilateral roaming and access agreements—ensuring end-to-end integrity, reducing costs, and enabling a consistent carrier-branded user interface across multiple networks, platforms, and applications. Headquartered in London UK, Quiconnect was founded in 2001 and operates offices in Grenoble, France and San Diego USA. For more information, visit www.quiconnect.com
FatPort is Canada´s most extensive wireless Internet service provider (WISP) and provider of Wi-Fi (802.11b) in public spaces. FatPort´s custom-built FatPoint wireless access point enables location owners to quickly establish a commercial FatZone. In each FatZone, anyone with a wireless-enabled laptop or PDA may access the Internet at speeds many times faster than cellular networks. FatPort is now offering Voice over IP through its newly formed division, mobitus. FatPort is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ignition Point Technologies Corporation (TSX-VEN: IPN). www.fatport.com