British Telecommunications (BT) and T-Mobile International have joined an Asian consortium called the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), which plans to be operating more than 26,000 Wi-Fi hotspots around the world by the end of this year.
BT and T-Mobile join China Netcom Communications Group (China), Korea Telecom, Maxis Communications (Malaysia), StarHub (Singapore), and Telstra in the alliance, which operates around 13,000 hotspots now.
T-Mobile's units in both the U.K and U.S. will be involved in the alliance, according to a WBA statement Wednesday.
The original alliance members, except for Korea Telecom, have begun a pilot trial for international Wi-Fi roaming in their four countries at over 500 Wi-Fi hotspots. Korea Telecom is expected to open its hotspots to international roamers by the end of the year as well.
There will be no extra charge for international Wi-Fi roaming during the trial, which will continue until the end of October. Telstra currently charges a minimum of A$5 (US$3.25) for the first 15 minutes of use and A$0.20 per minute after that.
Formed in March, the WBA has said its intention is to build a global Wi-Fi network under a single brand identity, utilizing a common technology platform.