Texaco pumps Wi-Fi into 100 garages

T-Mobile wins roaming deal and champagne flute

T-Mobile UK today announced that it has rigged 100 Texaco service stations with Wi-Fi hotspots.

Sort of. Texaco's WLAN infrastructure was not actually put in place by T-Mobile itself, but by third-party Wi-Fi specialist Mapesbury Communications (MCom). Essentially, MCom/Texaco's access points are providing roaming facilities for T-Mobile, but on an exclusive basis.

Motorists concerned over the safety implications of wireless communications - gas stations always warn you to turn off your mobile phone before filling up, for instance - will be relieved to know that Texaco is providing a dedicated parking area for hotspot users "clearly marked to direct them away from the petrol pumps".

More to the point, this will prevent forecourt congestion. It's not hard to imagine cars backed up onto the highway while some poor soul at pump number three desperately tries to figure out why his or her notebook can't see the access point.

Texaco maintains around 1400 own-brand service stations in the UK, though only a few hundred are actually run by the company. The deal with T-Mobile was announced last September. The 100 sites chosen for the initial roll-out are located alongside major UK roads,.

A Texaco spokesman told The Register that the company hopes to roll out Wi-Fi to the majority of the company-owned service stations by the end of the year, with an extension of the programme to franchise sites a possibility in due course.

Which sites get Wi-Fi depend on the results of a safety assessment - is there space to put the WLAN parking bay(s) sufficiently far away from the large volumes of inflammable liquid stored on site - and on T-Mobile's own coverage requirements, the spokesman said.

T-Mobile UK ast month set up a Wi-Fi presence in 154 Starbucks coffee shops. ®

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