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Boingo Wireless announced today that Microsoft is sponsoring free Wi-Fi access at high-traffic New York and San Francisco from now through the end of the year. The Wi-Fi sponsorship is part of the launch celebration for Windows 8, and will introduce the new Windows Store for Windows 8 to the app builder community.

Consumers can also browse new apps in the Windows Store, view staff recommendations, and get personalized picks based on apps they may already use.

Microsoft’s sponsored Wi-Fi is available now for users of all Wi-Fi enabled devices in six Manhattan subway stations, supported by Transit Wireless and across Wi-Fi hotzones covering San Francisco locations including Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, UN Plaza, the Financial District, Nob Hill and more.

Microsoft will also sponsor Wi-Fi via more than 200 Manhattan hotzones, starting November 1. The Wi-Fi hotspots are part of Boingo’s Cloud Nine media platform, a global advertising network that enables brand advertisers to reach target audiences through Wi-Fi sponsorship.

FierceBroadbandWireless recently talked with Boingo President and CEO Dave Hagan about Boingo’s offload strategy, the security of its network and how Wi-Fi offloading fits into the company’s business model.

FierceBroadbandWireless: How do you make money from this?

Hagan: The carriers will pay us wholesale traffic fees for putting traffic on our network.

FierceBroadbandWireless: We know Wi-Fi offloading has become an important part of managing traffic on the network. Do you envision other carriers signing similar deals with you?

Hagan: We do. We are in discussions with operators globally. It has become a hot topic. We have been talking about it at Boingo for a number of years. The good news is it is becoming real. The carriers are engaged with standard-setting bodies like Hotspot 2.0 and Passbook. It used to be that Boingo would participate in these standards bodies, and we’d talk about standards for Wi-Fi to cellular. But, until the carriers got involved, it was kind of outsiders looking in trying to get something done. Now the carriers are driving it, and it shows the commitment of the carriers to truly implementing a carrier offload solution.

The Boingo Wi-Fi service will be a “white label” offering. That means carriers can rebrand it as part of their service.

Boingo’s competitors in this space include HarborLink, Anyfi Networks, BelAir Networks, recently acquired by Ericsson, and Ruckus Wireless, which offers a beamforming WiFi solution offered by cable and wireless companies.

Boingo Wireless and Google sponsored free Wi-Fi across New York City from June 25 through September 7, 2012 in select New York City subway stations and at Boingo hotzones across Manhattan, courtesy of Google Offers.

The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint program enables mobile devices to automatically discover and connect to Wi-Fi networks, without the manual fiddling of wireless settings. Passpoint allows cell companies to enable roaming agreements with hotspot providers, enabling new revenue streams and making Wi-Fi an extension of paid service provider networks. Passpoint-certified devices work across vendors and have Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) security protections.

Boingo Wireless recently announced its support of the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) advanced Next Generation Hotspot trials, slated for Q4 2012.

Gartner says mobile ads generated close to $3.3 billion worldwide in 2011 and projects they will top $20 billion annually by the end of 2015.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Chicago Announces Free WiFi in Parks and WiFi Offload for Regional Carriers.

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