The Cloud readies European wireless expansion

The Cloud is expanding into Europe thanks to a cash boost from 3i Group and Accel Partners.

The Cloud is expanding into Europe thanks to a cash boost from 3i Group and Accel Partners.

"We will be seeing network construction in a couple of countries by the end of the year," said Cloud chief executive George Polk.

He expected foreign networks put together by a new division, Cloud Carrier Services, to be a large part of the Cloud's business within the next year.

The wireless operator will not be providing services to end users however, keeping its role as a partner to bigger fish. "The cost of building an end-user service-provider brand is hundreds of millions, not tens of millions."

During the past year, the Cloud has spun off a Wi-Fi clearinghouse called RoamPoint which is planned to make life easier for users and operators.

Ease of use is the biggest problem holding back Wi-Fi usage.

"Make Wi-Fi easy to use and they'll use it. If you don't, they won't," he said. "This business becomes interesting when you have a device that knows how to connect to the network, when that device connects automatically to the network, and when you pay for usage on a bill you already have."

Deutsche Telekom also revealed this week its own worldwide wireless network plans using virtually the same model as The Cloud. Its subsidiary T-Systems has already signed up 120 international partners for a total of 10,000 hotspots.

Peter Judge writes for

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