Upstart hotspot operator MAINSPOT Inc. has inked a Wi-Fi roaming agreement with iPass, a move that will see the Toronto provider gain instant international reach. Paul Min, the company’s president and founder, tells Report on Wireless the iPass agreement is particularly important for MAINSPOT as it allows the company to lay the foundations for future expansion. "IPass is one of the biggest roaming partners (in the market), so having this type of business relationship with them really puts a lot of credibility in the company." He adds that while the company is currently focused on growing the company in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), he does have his sights set on international expansion at some point in the future. Min notes that technological developments such as WiMAX and WiBRO – another flavour of broadband wireless being developed in Asia – will open up many opportunities in the future.  But Min isn’t about to spend a lot of money building out a network of hotspots in the GTA hoping that users, and resulting revenue, will come. He tells RoW that MAINSPOT is taking a conservative approach to growth, focusing instead on growing the company organically. "Our approach has been a more organic approach to growth and we really measure and understand what the customers’ needs are before we take a bigger approach to growth…but I think we’ve come to the point where we do need a little bit more investment to spend a little bit more based on the sales and the response that we’ve been getting so far," Min says.  He does, however, have some potential deals in the works that could help significantly expand the reach of the company throughout the GTA fairly rapidly and allow it to ramp up hotspot deployment throughout the country’s largest city. Min wouldn’t divulge details of those potential agreements. "We’re talking with a number of different franchises right now, but it’s taking time to iron those out. But as soon as we close those deals, we could have a lot of hotspots up and running. From what we’ve seen in the market, they’re interested and they really understand that this is the way to go, but I think people are a little bit cautious about it and they want to take a (wait-and-see approach)," he says.  There are challenges, Min admits, in being able to secure a contract with a large franchise, such as the Second Cup for example. "We do have a couple of locations signed with them, but in order to get the franchise to back us up, we need to close a business relationship with them. The challenge in that respect is we need to grow bigger in order to accommodate someone like that," he says.  MAINSPOT is gaining traction in the market just as the country’s wireless carriers are about to unveil the details of an inter-carrier Wi-Fi roaming agreement. The big players have been working together since the fall of 2003 to hammer out the technical specs and the revenue sharing model. Bell Mobility, Telus Mobility and Rogers Wireless Inc. are expected to announce the availability of inter-carrier Wi-Fi roaming during the second quarter of this calendar year.  Asked whether MAINSPOT would participate in the inter-carrier Wi-Fi roaming pact, Min says he’s waiting for an announcement before he makes a decision, noting that so far the carriers have been all talk but no action. "That’s definitely a possibility and there are other players out there. For example, Fatport is very big on the West Coast, so there are a number of different roaming strategies that could be deployed, but I really need to see some action (from the wireless carriers)," he says.