New Windows Phone 8 feature saves cellular costs by automatically logging in to free Wi-Fi hotspots

// November 6th, 2012 // Mobile


One of the new features introduced in Windows Phone 8 is a technology called DataSense. In the new “pay for the data you use” age, DataSense not only helps you keep an eye on your usage but also compresses information being transferred to help reduce data costs. But taking it one step further, Microsoft has included technology from California-based Devicescape which specializes in offloading cellular data traffic by routing it over a large network of free Wi-Fi networks such as those found in airports, coffee shops, and other public venues. Devicescape already has over 11 million free Wifi hotspots documented in its Curated Virtual Network (CVN), all of which Windows Phone 8 can automatically connect to when they are in range.

Right now users will still have to manually sign in to the free Wi-Fi hotspots but technology to automatically login is in the works. Once the free hotspot is identified, a DNS query (which are typically allowed by free hotspots before signing in) to a remote server will retrieve the hotspot sign-on information and automatically supply the criteria to allow the user to silently log in without manually entering sign in information.  This means the smartphone will constantly search and connect to free hotspots, silently, as the user moves about switching off the cellular network to free WiFi data services.

Devicescape’s CVN leverages crowd-sourced data from installed devices that utilize the CVN technology. This installed base of devices will sniff out free hotspots and add to Devicescape’s database for further curation. If the Wi-Fi lookup fails, the manual login session will be recorded and forwarded to Devicescape so the process can be automated the next time a user comes across the hotspot.

Although the technology is integrated into all Windows Phone 8 devices, it is up to the carrier to activate the service. It is believed that Verizon will be the first carrier to activate it.

Dave Fraser, CEO of Devicescape explained:

“Mobile data caps, tiers and throttling are limiting the smartphone experience. By leveraging the Devicescape network of public hotspots, Microsoft can now pass along tremendous value to its Windows Phone 8 users enabling them to locate a nearby quality wifi network. Windows Phone 8 users will now have an alternative way to manage their monthly data plan while maintaining the quality of service they are accustomed to from their mobile provider.”

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