Consolidation in the commercial Wi-Fi market continued Nov. 10 with Boingo Wireless acquiring Opti-Fi Networks of Annapolis, Md., which operates 25 airport Wi-Fi networks in the U.S. and Canada. AT&T expanded its Wi-Fi footprint to 20,000 hotspots Nov. 6 with the acquisition of privately held Wayport.
Boingo, of Los Angeles, is the largest operator of airport Wi-Fi networks in North America and the Opti-Fi deal increases the number of airport networks operated by the company from 30 to 55, covering 43 percent of passenger traffic in the top 100 North American airports. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“With the acquisition of Opti-Fi, we are able to integrate their network seamlessly into ours, provide high-quality connection to those airports, and increase the Boingo Enterprise solution to more airports,” Dave Hagan, CEO and president of Boingo Wireless, said in a statement.
New airports added through the deal include Montreal, Buffalo, El Paso and Piedmont Triad International Airport located in Greensboro, N.C. These locations join other airports operated by Boingo in North America and the United Kingdom, including John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports in the New York metropolitan area, as well as Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway and London’s Heathrow.
The Boingo deal announcement follows by less a than a week AT&T’s acquisition of Wayport, which operates hotspots at McDonald’s restaurants, select Wyndham, Marriott Vacation Club and Four Seasons hotels and HealthSouth and Sun Healthcare locations. Wayport already provides back-office management for AT&T’s Wi-Fi hotspots.
“From an industry perspective, it’s great that AT&T sees Wi-Fi as a great complement to 3G networks,” Hagan said. “Carriers should bundle Wi-Fi with 3G to provide a better user experience and offload expensive data usage to cheaper, faster Wi-Fi networks.”
Hagan added telecom carriers and cable companies are moving to add Wi-Fi networks to their service offerings. “Naturally, that leads to the kind of industry consolidation exemplified by AT&T buying Wayport, our own acquisition of both Concourse Communications and Sprint’s Wi-Fi network,” he said.