It’s an exciting day to be in Wi-Fi!
Today, Google announced Project Fi, a new wireless service that will mix traditional cellular service (provided by Sprint and T-Mobile) with Wi-Fi service (free and open public hotspots).
“Wherever you’re connected to Wi-Fi — whether that’s at home, your favorite coffee shop or your Batcave — you can talk and text like you normally do,” wrote Nick Fox, Google’s vice president of communications products, in a blog post. “If you leave an area of Wi-Fi coverage, your call will seamlessly transition from Wi-Fi to cell networks so your conversation doesn’t skip a beat.”
Google’s move into a Wi-Fi based wireless service helps prove once again that the “Wi-Fi First” world is a reality. There is now more mobile data traffic on Wi-Fi than cellular, and that is expected to accelerate over the next several years. Wi-Fi First products that were being led by start-ups like Republic Wireless and FreedomPop are now amplified by heavyweights such as Cablevision and T-Mobile. With Google and Project Fi jumping in to the mix, it is clear that the separation of cellular and Wi-Fi is now gone. By enabling seamless connectivity between cellular and Wi-Fi – like what Boingo is doing with a Tier 1 carrier via Passpoint – consumers can automatically connect to the best network.
Like the impact that Google Fiber has had on high speed internet service in markets they’ve entered, we would expect that this may accelerate the adoption of combined Wi-Fi service by the major carriers, which would be great for consumers (and Boingo).
We’re stoked for this announcement and for what it means for Wi-Fi. As Wi-Fi pioneers, we’ve long been touting Wi-Fi as the future of connectivity. Looks like that future is one step closer!