Cell phone service provider AT&T Wireless is throwing its hat in the ring as a provider of wireless networking services to its customers, through its own new service offering and also through a strategic partnership with Wi-Fi service provider Wayport.
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The new service, AT&T Wireless GoPort, enables AT&T Wireless customers to use Wi-Fi connections at airports and hotels across the United States. The access is provided both natively on AT&T Wireless GoPort locations, and “roaming” through Wayport hot spots and participating hotels as well.
Wi-Fi is the common moniker used for 802.11b wireless networking. Introduced on the Macintosh with the advent of Apple’s “AirPort” cards and base stations, Wi-Fi has become increasingly widespread throughout the Mac and PC worlds alike. AirPort-equipped PowerBooks and iBooks — as well as those PowerBooks outfitted with third-party PC cards — are capable of accessing Wi-Fi networks, including AT&T Wireless GoPort and Wayport networks. Apple’s recently introduced “AirPort Extreme” cards operate using the faster 802.11g standard, which is downwardly compatible with 802.11b networks.
The service is presently limited to access at Denver International Airport and will be available soon at Philadelphia International Airport. Starting in mid-February, however, users will be able to sign up for AT&T Wireless GoPort access online as well. The service will work at airports in Austin and Dallas-Forth Worth, San Jose and Seattle, and at more than 475 major hotels nationwide, according to the company.
Pricing options start at US$9.99, for an unlimited connection pass at one location for a 24-hour period. GoPort also offers 5 Connect and 10 Connect Multi-Packs for $29.99 or $49.99 respectively, and Monthly Unlimited access for $69.99.