Wednesday, April 22, 2009

AT&T Sees Surge in Wi-Fi Connections with Boost from Starbucks

AT&T, which currently operates nearly 20,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the U.S., reported significant growth in the number of Wi-Fi users and connections.

AT&T Wi-Fi connections totaled 10.5 million in the first quarter of 2009 - more than triple the 3.4 million connections in the first quarter of 2008, and more than half AT&T's 20 million total Wi-Fi connections for all of 2008. The usage surge was driven by growth in AT&T's wired and wireless broadband customer base, the proliferation of Wi-Fi enabled devices and the transition of Starbucks locations to AT&T's Wi-Fi footprint.

AT&T broadband connections - including wireline and wireless LaptopConnect cards - grew by 471,000 in the first quarter to reach 16.7 million in service. AT&T provides Wi-Fi access at no extra charge with qualifying AT&T high speed Internet plans, 3G LaptopConnect plans and select smartphone plans.

In the first quarter, Wayport -- which AT&T acquired in December 2008 -- began operating as AT&T Wi-Fi Services. Wayport's footprint included hotspot locations in retail, hospitality and healthcare venues.

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