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AT&T wraps Wayport deal, Starbucks Wi-Fi

updated 11:20 am EST, Fri December 12, 2008

AT&T Wraps Wayport Deal

AT&T on Friday said it has successfully closed its buyout out Wayport. The deal hands over control of Wayport's Wi-Fi hotspots and gives AT&T about 20,000 access points within the US and a total of 80,000 worldwide. No mention has been made as to if and when Wayport will switch to using AT&T's official Wi-Fi system and how soon users of either service will have a common billing system.

The extension should ultimately give AT&T subscribers access to wireless Internet service in McDonald's and other locations that have traditionally been Wayport exclusives.

Additionally, AT&T says it is "nearing completion" of its hotspot system within Starbucks, which covers approximately 7,000 of the coffee houses within the US.

Both AT&T's core Wi-Fi network and the Starbucks systems have varying prices depending on the customer's current status with AT&T and ranges from $20 per month for a subscription independent of any service to completely free service for iPhones and users of AT&T's other data services, such as PC adapters or its DSL network.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. danviento

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2005

    +1

    Old/New Gimmick Works

    It used to be that in places like Starbucks and Borders in out area offered free WiFi to customers in the store. These places supported their own network, often with multiple WiFi routers and a very high-speed connection to the ISP to support larger numbers of users.

    This was an excellent way of getting customers in over the lunch our and for extended stays (how many coffees does it take to have a client meeting?). I don't know if it was a problem with technical support, increased low beyond hardware capacity, or ISPs offering the businesses a a monthly payment to let them sell the connection fees at their venue.

    Whatever the reason, it has switched the demographic of two dozen or so venues within a mile of my place of work offering free WiFi to exactly 2. The rest now have internet connections if you pay a considerable lone-time, weekly, or monthly fee to a provider. For someone who already pays for DSL at home, I'm not about to pay $40 a month more just so I can download some podcasts or check eBay items (blocked by a filter at work) over lunch or before I commute home.

    I bet you can guess which 2 of the 2-dozen get my business when the need for un-filtered WiFi arises.

    I guess when the area is saturated with places that offer an internet connection, beyond a slow-down in speed at certain places due to large numbers of people using it, it doesn't make your business that much more appealing when everyone seems to offer the same thing.

    Now the two venues have cornered an old market. I'm amazed that one doesn't even advertise it. We'll see how that helps them out as the reset take a different route.

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