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Boingo Wireless: More Than One Million Wi-Fi Hotspots Worldwide

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According to Pew Research Center, 77 percent of Americans now own a smartphone. Data from Flurry, an analytics company, reveals the members of this group spend an average of five hours a day on their mobile devices browsing the Internet and utilizing a variety of apps.

Depending on your mobile carrier, this data usage can become an expensive habit—especially when you’re traveling. Juniper Research, a UK-based research and analytics company, recently predicted that revenue from global roaming services will reach $90 billion a year by 2018.

Fortunately, diligent use of wi-fi can help you shrink your data price tag. RewardExpert spoke with Dawn Callahan, chief marketing officer at Boingo Wireless, about the company’s consumer wi-fi service and her tips for helping you get the most out of your mobile device when traveling abroad.

Boingo Wi-Fi provides Internet access to subscribers wherever their travels may take them.
Boingo provides Internet access to subscribers wherever their travels may take them

A Company Ahead of its Time

Sky Dayton, Boingo Wireless founder and serial entrepreneur, recognized the possibilities inherent in wi-fi when it was still known as 802.11. He imagined a day when manufacturers would build it into everything—from computers and cameras to cars and home appliances. He envisioned consumers connecting wirelessly to the Internet from all of these devices, wherever they were and at any time.

“That was his vision,”Callahan said. “He founded Boingo Wireless in 2001 before there was any such thing as built-in wi-fi. At the time of the company’s launch, there were still fewer than 400 wi-fi hotspots in the world. Now there are hundreds of millions, and Sky’s vision has come to fruition. He was spot on and very much ahead of the times.”

Today, Boingo Wireless is the leading wi-fi company in the world and the largest indoor DAS {digital antenna system) provider. It has also earned the title of Best Wi-Fi Service in Global Traveler magazine seven times.

Boingo app will connect you automatically and securely to wi-fi whenever it is available.
The Boingo app will connect you automatically and securely to wi-fi whenever it is available

Wi-Fi for Travelers

Boingo Wi-Fi is the company’s consumer wireless service. With more than one million hotspots at airports, hotels, convention centers, cafes and retail locations around the world, Boingo Wi-Fi provides wireless Internet access to subscribers wherever their travels may take them.

The Boingo Wi-Finder app (available for iOS and Android as well as Macintosh and Windows) makes it easy to find Boingo hotspots. Set up a Boingo Passpoint profile and the service will also connect you automatically and securely to Passpoint-certified wi-fi whenever it is available.

“When you set up a Passpoint ID on your phone, it will look for Passpoint hotspots anytime you are out and about,” said Callahan. “It will then automatically connect you. You don’t have to do anything. It takes the process out of wi-fi out in the public and makes it behave just like you’re used to at home.”

Unlimited Plans for Less than $10/Month

Customers can choose from several Boingo Wi-Fi plans including Mobile, Unlimited and Global as well as plans for specific continents or pay-as-you-go. Prices start as low as $9.95 a month.

“The main question we ask to help you decide which plan is right for you is ‘Where are you going to spend the most amount of time?’” Callahan said. “The difference between our Boingo Mobile plan and Boingo Unlimited plan is really only the device space. The Mobile plan is for your smartphone or tablet and will get you connected anywhere in the world for a flat rate. The Unlimited plan is unlimited in North and South America and you can use your laptop, smartphone or tablet to connect.”

If you’re an American Express credit card customer, you may already have access to Boingo Wi-Fi services. “We put together a program that is very similar to the Boingo Global plan for American Express,”Callahan explained. “It essentially gives their customers access to Boingo hotspots all over the world for free as one of their card member benefits. They’ve extended this benefit to their Platinum Card members, Platinum Business Card members and Gold Card members.”

The company recently signed a similar deal with MasterCard as well.

Maximizing Your Wi-Fi Usage

For travelers worried about roaming data charges while abroad, Callahan had a suggestion to help you maximize your use of wi-fi.

“There are a ton of apps that will allow you to text over wi-fi,” she said. “You can also use calling apps to minimize the use of your cellular plan. Look for them on your app store; they’re generally free.” Her favorites include What’s App, Text Free, Google Voice and Facebook Messenger.

“The last three times I’ve been to London, I haven’t had my phone on at all except for wi-fi and it worked out great,” she said.

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