Mobile data traffic is a major source of congestion of networks. Especially in highly populated areas, and the growth of data-hungry smartphones and services, there is a considerable strain on cellular networks, both 4G and 3G. Nowadays, many operators are trying to relieve their networks of the data traffic and re-route them through unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrum, making the bandwidth accessible to other users, by a process known as Wi-Fi offloading. With the growing mobile data requirements, this market is predicted to become a whole industry in the next decade. Sprint struck a deal with Boingo Wireless in 2015, which allowed the carrier to offload its traffic from 35 major US airports onto Boingo’s Wi-Fi networks.
The company, founded in 2001 and headquartered in Los Angeles, California struck a new deal with another tier 1 carrier after Sprint, to continue their Wi-Fi offloading service. Boingo’s CEO David Hagan made this announcement as part of the quarterly earnings call. He also noted that the service is already in the process of the roll-out, and offloading is online at one major airport. He refused to reveal vital details about the deal, including the name of the carrier involved. According to him, the deal will only be profitable only in 2017 after the roll out is complete, and their services are online. Boingo’s revenue grew to $39.1 million as reported in the quarterly earnings call, but in a grim reminder, the net losses increased to $7.3 million, a $1.4 million increase from the same quarter last year.
The multi-year agreement with Sprint was made in 2015. Boingo reported an addition of about 22 million Sprint customers to their network as a result of the deal. The company provides their Wi-Fi offloading services to about 60 airports across North America. Putting that into perspective, Boingo has spread their Wi-Fi network across for 50% of the busiest airports in the US alone, and 30% of the world’s busiest airports. The company faced significant difficulties over enabling voice over Wi-Fi for Sprint due to the additional load on the network. The company also plans to extend their services to brands held by Sprint, like Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile.
Boingo is also working to develop the security and authentication on their network beyond Passpoint. They are working on a technology called Two-Layer Authentication to increase the availability of choices to the subscribers when they log into Boingo’s networks. Also, this new authentication is not bound by any device manufacturer support, making it a better choice for Boingo but implementing it on a large scale remains a significant challenge.