Feeds

AT&T ups Wi-Fi ante with Wayport acquisition

20,000 hotspots at home, 80,000 worldwide

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

AT&T has bought up Wi-Fi hotspot provider Wayport for $275m, hugely increasing the number of places that subscribers with an iPhone or Blackberry Bold can get free access.

The companies have worked together before; Wayport provided backhaul and management to AT&T hotspots. But Wayport always focused on providing hotspots in hotels, hospitals and chain-stores, notably McDonalds, carving a niche out for itself - one that AT&T now owns.

This is ironic, given that AT&T was one of the partners in the ill-fated Cometa Networks. Cometa was supposed to fit every McDonalds in America with Wi-Fi back in 2002, but by 2004 the golden arches were being fitted up with Waypoint, leaving Cometa with only 250 locations and an unused logo.

But if someone else succeeds where you've failed the answer is to buy them out - ideally when the economy makes acquisitions cheap. That way you can wait a decade, then paint the whole thing as a coherent plan by merging the projects together in history.

ABI Research, commenting on the deal, points out that while AT&T customers with their Blackberry Bold handsets will get free Wi-Fi, those who switch to Verizon for a Blackberry Storm won't even have Wi-Fi connectivity.

Including roaming locations this gives AT&T 80,000 hotspots around the world, assuming those roaming deals make the transition from Wayport. However, it's still debatable how useful Wi-Fi is on a phone. In areas with decent 3G coverage the hotspot model is largely redundant. The greater speed is hard to exploit on a mobile phone screen, but where coverage is less ubiquitous there is still room for Wi-Fi. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.