Free WiFi and Hotspot profiteering coming to iiNet customers

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Free WiFi and Hotspot profiteering coming to iiNet customers

iiNet has inked an exclusive partnership with NZ-based Tomizone, enabling its customers to access free WiFi and to create and profit from their own WiFi Hotspots.

From November, iiNet broadband customers will have free WiFi access (restricted to a 100MB data allocation per month) to Tomizone Hotspots wherever they are available.

Once customers exceed their 100MB data limit, they will be required to sign up a Tomizone account for further use of the service.

“Technically anyone can jump on board with the Tomizone technology,” said Tomizone CEO, Steve Simms, “But iiNet customers will have the added bonus of free usage around the world.”

Additionally, iiNet customers will be able to set up their own WiFi Hotspot by connecting a Tomizone-enabled WiFi device to their broadband connection.

The Hotspot owner can then generate income from other users who are required to pay a low fee to Tomizone for access to the Internet through this user created hotspot. Half of any usage revenue earned through this way will be distributed to the iiNet customer from Tomizone.

“Tomizone was going coming to Australia to set up shop with or without iiNet and we wanted to jump on board to make sure our customers got some free WiFi,” said iiNet CTO, Greg Bader. “At the moment the Tomizone integration with iiNet is not complete, so when we launch, iiNet customers will be able to set up a hotspot and resell the service.”

Although the partnership is still months away from a public unveiling, the ability to create customer controlled Hotspots raises a number of questions, not least the definition of iiNet’s customers once they decide to resell the Tomizone service.

Under current iiNet Home broadband plans, users are not authorised to resell internet services, to do so, users must be signed to a business account. But Bader insisted this would soon change and for customers to expect a revamp of plans once the deal is finalised and ready to launch.

“iiNet has not yet finalised the terms to govern Tomizone’s integration with our plans but they will be sorted in time for the November launch,” he said.

Aside from ironing out the terms and conditions of its customer plans, iiNet may face another hurdle from ACMA, which may enter the debate if it thinks iiNet customers selling internet services would require carrier licensing. But again, Bader thinks it will be a non issue.

“That’s a fairly complicated area, and we’ll have a final position on that shortly but I believe there is room under the current ACMA guidelines for this to operate”’ he said.

Earlier this year, Tomizone signed a similar agreement with New Zealand ISP, Orcon and is currently in negotiations with ISPs in six other countries including the US, India, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan and Mexico.

“We want to be the Skype of WiFi and so far it’s working all right,” said Tomizone’s Simms.

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