The Cloud is expanding into Europe thanks to a cash boost from 3i and Accel Partners, its chief executive has told Techworld.
"We will be seeing network construction in a couple of countries by the end of the year," said George Polk, in an interview. 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. "I'm sitting on a nice pile of cash, but not that kind of pile of cash," said Polk. "The cost of building an end-user service-provider brand is hundreds of millions, not tens of millions."
During the last 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 he said: "Make Wi-Fi easy to use and they'll use it. If you don't, they won't," he says. "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."
The news comes in the same week that Deutsche Telekom revealed 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.