Your operator, whoever they may be, are in the business of building a network and then selling you access to said network. They don’t like it when you do things that harm the quality of their precious network, things like streaming 720p movies on your brand spanking new Galaxy S III. They couldn’t care less if you did that at home while connected to your WiFi access point, but do it while connected to their 3G or 4G network and they become absolutely livid.
Now most operators thought if they deployed WiFi networks in places where people congregate, places like schools, cafés, shopping malls, then people would be smart enough to connect to the WiFi hotspots and thus reduce the congestion on their cellular network. They obviously assumed wrong. Pulling a phone out of your pocket and looking up something is a lot easier than pulling a phone out of your pocket, going to the settings menu, finding the right access point to connect to, and then entering your account credentials.
Enter Passpoint. It’s a standard that was developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance, the same folks who invented WiFi. Their goal with Passpoint is to make your phone smart enough to connect to an access point without you having to do anything. In order for this to work you need a Passpoint enabled device and a Passpoint enabled WiFi access point. Today the Wi-Fi Alliance is announcing that they’re begun certifying devices as Passpoint compatible.
What does this mean for you? Hopefully you’ll use up less of your data bucket since your phone will connect to WiFi automatically. Knowing how operators work though, they’ll probably be a bunch of dicks and charge you for the data that you consume, regardless of whether you’re connected to a cellular network or a Passpoint enabled WiFi network.
I hope I’m wrong.
[Additional Reading: GigaOM]