Operators have a problem on their hands when it comes to mobile data. They want you to buy top of the line smartphones and use them to browse the web, check your Facebook page, and tell your thousand Twitter followers about what you’re eating for lunch, but at the same time they don’t want to spend lots of money upgrading their networks. MetroPCS, one of the smaller American operators, has teamed up with Devicescape so that if your Android powered smartphone just so happens to be near one of half a million supported hotpots, it’ll offload your data usage to said hotspot versus using the cellular network. Considering that most people use their smartphone either at work or at home, it makes sense for them to use the local WiFi connection and leave the already constrained cellular network to other people who actually need the connectivity during their commute to work or stroll through the park.
Beginning with the LG Optimus and Huawei Ascend, all future Android smartphones from MetroPCS will have Devicescape’s Easy WiFi application preinstalled. Look out for more operators to announce similar deals as the next few years are going to be quite penny pinching since new towers will need to be put up, but more importantly new connections to said towers, most likely fiber backhauls, have to be installed to support the massive explosion of data that’s taking place thanks to the rapidly falling price of smartphones.
WiFi kills battery, it’s a sad fact of smartphone life, but it saves you money, especially if you’re using someone like AT&T who doesn’t have unlimited data, but instead chooses to charge you by the gigabyte. Boingo Wireless, similar to Devicescape, offers the same functionality and it can be used on practically any device with a WiFi connection. Check them out if you’re a heavy traveler.
Update: Looks like Boingo also inked a deal with MetroPCS, but unlike the Devicescape agreement, which is free for users, MetroPCS customers will have to pay $8/month to use the service.