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Trustive, a hotspot aggregator, signed a deal with Airpath that adds at least 2,600 hotspots to its network: Trustive now says its network includes 12,000 hotspots globally. The agreement does two things for Trustive. Trustive is now part of the Airpath Provider Alliance, which gives Trustive access to the 2,600 hotspots. Trustive is also using Airpath’s hosted roaming and clearinghouse platform, which means that Trustive can easily form additional deals with other users of that platform. Airpath’s setup sounds a lot like a service that iPass offers, where it provides some back office functions that enable roaming and makes it easy for operators that use the service to roam with each other.
A while back I was predicting some consolidation among aggregators as well as among roaming platform suppliers. But instead it seems like more and more of each are popping up. I would think that the market would only be able to carry just a few aggregators, otherwise the traffic is spread too thin. Ultimately, if all these aggregators have deals with all the same hotspot providers, it’s not clear what will distinguish them from each other, in the eyes of the end user. A few scenarios could play out here. The aggregators could basically be in a race to sign up every last operator, as each one tries to be able to boast having the most hotspots available. At the same time they could try to establish a brand that will attract end users—Trustive looks like it’s after a sort of “hip” and “be free” kind of image. Or the aggregators could target certain niche markets (for instance iPass specifically targets enterprises).
Posted by nancyg at May 25, 2005 5:19 PM
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