AT&T plans to expand Wi-Fi hotzones program

By Dow Jones Newswires
Posted Dec. 28, 2010 at 11:33 a.m.

AT&T Inc. plans to expand its Wi-Fi hotzone in Times Square and add new coverage areas in New York and San Francisco, after a strong response to its pilot program.

The company initially plans to expand the Times Square Wi-Fi hotzone and add new ones near Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in midtown Manhattan. It also is planning a new hotzone for the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco. The program is intended to supplement mobile broadband in urban areas with consistently high usage

AT&T, the exclusive carrier of Apple Inc.’s iPhone in the U.S., has been the subject of criticism over the quality of its service in places like New York City and San Francisco.

“Our initial AT&T Wi-Fi hotzones have received great customer response and supported high data traffic,” Chief Technology Officer John Donovan said.

Along with Times Square, AT&T’s earlier this year deployed the service in downtown Charlotte, N.C., and Chicago’s Wrigleyville.

AT&T said that in the third quarter, the company handled 106.9 million Wi-Fi connections on its network, exceeding the total 85.5 million connections made for all of last year.

It recently moved to bolster its coming high-speed wireless service, agreeing to pay $1.93 billion for a swath of spectrum licenses from Qualcomm Inc. that will give it more capacity to send video and other content to users. The move is forward-looking for AT&T because of the major-city concentration of the spectrum.

AT&T shares closed Monday at $29.25 and were inactive premarket. The stock is up 4.4 percent this year.

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One comment:

  1. Carol Dec. 28, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    AT&T needs to add Chicago to their upgrades. Cell calls drop in spots on LaSalle St. and good luck if you’re near the top of a high-rise building. Their service people, however, are pleasant.