The world's leading cellular body is throwing its weight behind cell-to-Wi-Fi roaming technology. GSMA, which represents mobile operators across the globe, announced today that it is working together with the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) to simplify access to Wi-Fi hotspots from smartphones and tablets. The work may allow mobile users to simply roam onto Wi-Fi networks without any additional authentication in future.

A number of mobile operators run their own Wi-Fi networks worldwide, with others offering access to third-party hotspots as part of a monthly contract. With the two industry experts working together, the idea is that the manual process of entering login information will be removed — replaced with an authentication system using the SIM as a logon credential. With a slow rollout of LTE technology across Europe and operators looking to public Wi-Fi to help alleviate strains on data networks worldwide, the work will assist consumers and operators alike but won't necessarily lead to low-cost roaming for consumers. The GSMA says it will build on its "successful roaming principles" that the mobile industry uses for more than six billion connections worldwide, a figure that the group predicts will double within the next ten years.