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T-Mobile, iPass sign Wi-Fi roaming deal

Hot-spot operator T-Mobile and service provider iPass agree to a deal that allows subscribers to access each other's networks.

Leading wireless access operator T-Mobile USA and corporate network service provider iPass have reached an agreement that allows iPass subscribers to access T-Mobile hot spots.

The agreement will significantly enhance the reach of iPass services, which are used primarily by corporate customers. Redwood Shores, Calif.-based iPass sells a service that allows employees to remotely tap corporate networks; T-Mobile is the largest provider of Wi-Fi Internet access in the United States with nearly 4,000 locations.


What's new:
T-Mobile USA and iPass sign an agreement letting iPass business subscribers connect to T-Mobile's Wi-Fi hot spots.

Bottom line:
The deal gives iPass and its 415,000 business subscribers access to the leading hot-spot network in the United States. For T-Mobile, it gives access to a large pool of business users, who are the most likely to use hot-spot services.

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Subscribers to iPass' services will be able to use T-Mobile hot spots to access corporate networks in the first quarter, according to iPass representatives.

A Wi-Fi hot spot is a public location where individuals can wirelessly access the Internet via a broadband Internet connection. The deal means that iPass's business users will be able to connect to their corporate networks from a T-Mobile hot spot.

Analysts have said that the most likely users of hot-spot services are traveling business workers. T-Mobile executives have said in the past that 88 percent of subscribers use the service for business purposes. The iPass agreement will give T-Mobile access to a large pool of potential business subscribers.

As previously reported, T-Mobile has been looking for a roaming partner and was expected to announce a deal with a company that targets businesses. The iPass deal is the first roaming agreement for T-Mobile.

Focusing on the corporate market is a change in plans for T-Mobile, which initially aimed for a broad coverage area by striking alliances

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with large retail chains to host the service. For example, T-Mobile has deals with Starbucks, Borders Books, Kinko's and several airports and airlines. iPass has long targeted businesses for its service.

"The Wi-Fi visions of both iPass and T-Mobile are in synch," Ken Denman, CEO of iPass, said in a press release.

iPass has nearly 3,000 hot spots in 16 countries and more than 1,200 Ethernet-enabled locations globally. There are 415,000 subscribers to iPass services, and they will be charged $9.99 for a 24-hour pass to connect to T-Mobile's hot-spot service.

T-Mobile is expected to announce more roaming partners next year.