By December 8, 2009

Boingo lies about Boingo Mobile

Update: Boingo has improved reporting.

Previously we have published review of Boingo WiFi app for iPhone but now we have gathered more information and we can reveal something that only few know…

So imagine that you bought Boingo Mobile service that allows connection to the Internet at many WiFi hotspots worldwide. Then you checked availability of Boingo-supported hotspots in given city – by going to Boingo’s website – and you are happy to find out that this and that WiFi hotspot is actually Boingo-compatible.

Then you decide: alright, so I will leave my notebook and netbook at home and I will just use Boingo Mobile on my iPhone.

Well, now you arrive to that distant city or place and you pull out your iPhone, you connect in settings to the WiFi network noted on Boingo’s website as the one that supports Boingo and then you start Boingo app in your iPhone and, all of a sudden, you get this message:

Then you think: what the heck? SSID of this WiFi network is exactly the same as mentioned on Boingo’s website so it must be a compatible hotspot. Then you think: well, maybe list of hotspots in your app is not up to date. You run like crazy monkey to some other hotspot, you update list of hotspots and go back to that supposedly Boingo hotspot and what? Still the same message!

So what is going on? Well, we have sent emails to Boingo but they didn’t bother to response. Fortunately we got a contact with Boingo employee on Twitter and then we have found out:

several Boingo-compatible WiFi hotspots are not compatible with Boingo Mobile and work only with regular Boingo service available for notebooks

But this is nowhere mentioned at Boingo’s website and their maps and list of hotspots doesn’t tell that this or that hotspot is not compatible with Boingo Mobile.

This is outrageous and means that you cannot rely on Boingo. In other words: we cannot recommend it anymore. While idea of having ability to connect to many WiFi hotspots all over the world – and thus to avoid roaming costs – is nice, the reality is that similar effect can be achieved if you have WiFi hotspot subscription to some service like T-Mobile Hotspot and you do “WiFi roaming”. Boing unfortunately has failed us.

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Apart from iPhone, you might be interested also in Windows Mobile phones!

Posted in: Phones

About the Author:

Seasoned tech blogger. Host of the Tech Addicts podcast.
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