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T-Mobile Named Wi-Fi Alliance Sponsor

T-Mobile has joined the Wi-Fi Alliance as a sponsor member of the organization, becoming the sole U.S wireless carrier to join the sponsor circle. The Wi-Fi Alliance, a non-profit industry association promoting the spread of Wi-Fi, made the announcement this week.

Other Wi-Fi Alliance sponsor members include Intel, which pioneered the technology, as well as Apple, Atheros, Broadcom, Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, Sony, and Texas Instruments. T-Mobile named Omar Hassan, the head of its Wi-Fi device technology development, to serve on the Wi-Fi Alliance board of directors.

The sponsorship represents a sign of changing times, as mobile phone service carriers were once reluctant to embrace Wi-Fi, fearing the wireless technology could represent competition.

"T-Mobile has been an innovator and leader in advancing the popularity and utility of Wi-Fi in handsets," said Edgar Figueroa, executive director of the Wi-Fi Alliance, in a statement. Figueroa added that T-Mobile was the first U.S. carrier to launch a converged Wi-Fi/mobile calling service for consumers. Some 40% of T-Mobile mobile phones currently offer broadband data speeds over Wi-Fi. Last month, T-Mobile launched a converged Wi-Fi/mobile calling service offering for enterprise customers.

Wi-Fi technology has been steadily growing in recent years and advanced 802.11n technology, recently certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, is expected to push Wi-Fi usage into more markets.

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