This press release doesn't explain what exactly is going on here: But I spoke with folks at Tatara a couple months ago and the product sounds pretty good. On the face of it, Tatara looks like another provider of a single-sign on solution for hotspot operators. But it's the backend that's really cool.
Tatara is really designed for a big operator like a T-Mobile that has other networks. The platform ties into the operator's backend systems like billing and customer service. It also detects presence. Here's an example of why all that is good. Let's say a customer is online in a hotspot of a roaming partner of her hotspot operator. If she's having technical problems she can call customer care for her operator which will have access not only to which hotspot she's connected to but also specific information about her connection.
Because the system detects the data rate a user gets, the operator can also decide to offer a varied billing structure where customers pay depending on the data rate they're getting.
Also, an operator that may also have a cell phone network, for example, can integrate services across the networks. So a cell phone user will be able to get presence information about a friend logged onto a hotspot and send an instant message to the friend.