AT&T to buy Wi-Fi hot spot provider for $275M
With Wayport acquisition, AT&T says it can reduce Wi-Fi costs, provide more content and advertising to users
Austin-based Wayport had already been providing back-office management for AT&T hot spots in many restaurants and other locations, but now all of Wayport's assets and infrastructure will be owned by AT&T, spokeswoman Jenny Bridges said in an interview.
The purchase, expected to be finalized later this year, brings the number of AT&T hot spots in the U.S. to 20,000, up from 17,000, the spokeswoman said. Many of the hot spots are in McDonald's restaurants and Starbucks coffee shops, but the total now includes a variety of hotels and health care facilities.
The purchase capitalizes on AT&T's long-held strategy of providing both wide-area and Wi-Fi wireless connections to business and consumer customers. "One mode complements the other, giving near-ubiquitous Internet access for businesses and consumers," Bridges said.
The purchase "clearly" makes AT&T the domestic Wi-Fi leader and also supports AT&T's iPhone strategy, said Phillip Redman, an analyst at Gartner Inc. "It makes sense looking at multiple technologies to provide the best coverage."
Wi-Fi signals are generally much faster, as much as 10 times faster, than cellular network speeds. They also operate indoors better than cellular signals, analysts and Wayport officials said.
AT&T offers free Wi-Fi connections to some of its smart phone customers, including those with iPhones and its BlackBerry Bold, which went on sale this week. Customers of AT&T's LaptopConnect data network and its high-speed Internet on the U-verse service also get free Wi-Fi.
John Stankey, CEO of AT&T Operations, an AT&T business unit, said the Wayport purchase makes sense with the "exponential growth" of Wi-Fi equipped devices. About 300 million Wi-Fi-equipped devices shipped in 2007, while 1 billion should be on the market in 2012, according to research from In-Stat supplied by AT&T.
Bridges said that acquiring Wayport will reduce operating costs for AT&T in running Wi-Fi, as well as for businesses that want to offer it to their customers. She said that managing the infrastructure will make it easier for AT&T to increase revenues with more custom content, messaging and advertising on Wi-Fi-enabled Web pages.
Read more about Mobile/Wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Mobile Policy Checklist Here's what to consider when putting together a mobile policy designed to support a highly productive workforce.
- Mobile Applications Case Study: 8 Billion Transactions a Day The story documents how the online brokerage company tradeMONSTER created a custom mobile app and the success gleaned from this initiative. Also covered...
- Securing BYOD Mobile computing is becoming so ubiquitous that people no longer bat an eye seeing someone working two devices simultaneously. Individuals and organizations are...
- The Case for Mobile Apps Today's mobile apps turn handheld devices into e-book readers, portable navigation systems, digital wallets and more. And for organizations with mobile workers, they...
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Workforce Mobilization for Improved Productivity A mobility research director from Aberdeen discusses reasons for extending legacy applications to mobile devices, and an integration strategist from Attachmate shows how...
- Mobile Apps and Devices Slash Customer Cycle Time Consolidated Engineering Laboratories' field employees used to collect data on triplicate forms that were sometimes hard to read and difficult to manage. After...
- CDW Integrates with Google Apps for Cloud Collaboration Through a partnership with Google and Esna Technologies, CDW has rolled out native access to the CDW Cloud Collaboration suite within Google Apps. All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts