AT&T (News - Alert) has revealed that 1.2 billion of its customers connected to the company's approximate 30,000 Wi-Fi hostpots last year.
Network traffic tripled over the past year, and data uploads alone increased 550 percent. Customers also made connections at Wi-Fi hotspots at more than triple the rate they did at the third quarter in 2010.
“As AT&T Wi-Fi connections and usage soar at hospitality locations, retail stores, stadiums and enterprise businesses, venues are benefitting by making Wi-Fi available to their customers and employees,” Senior Vice President for Angie Wiskocil AT&T Wi-Fi Services said in a press release. “This extraordinary growth confirms that customers understand the benefits of AT&T Wi-Fi. It's fast, reliable and convenient access that doesn't count against their monthly data plans.”
AT&T currently has 30,000 hotspots, with more planned for the future. The company said it was scaling at a good pace, including new hotspots in Indianapolis. AT&T says it’s the only company rolling out Wi-Fi connectivity at this scale.
The carrier has most widely deployed the hotspots in Palo Alto (News - Alert), San Francisco, Chicago and New York City, including 19 of the city’s parks. Visitors to New York parks made 1 million connections in 2011.
AT&T also acquired Montreal-basedSuperclick, Inc in an attempt to develop the high-end hospitality sector and get Wi-Fi into more hotels. Hotels already account for 45 percent of the company’s traffic, according to AT&T, much of which comes from business travelers wanting to stay in touch during longer stays.
AT&T is also planning increased roll-outs of connectivity in Stadiums. They recently announced an agreement with the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., that will allow fans to connect on their mobile devices during games.
The network is also used by other carriers, including Qwest.
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David Delony is a Bay Area expatriate living in Ashland, Oregon. He combines his lifelong love of both words and technology in his career as a freelance writer. David holds a B.A. in communication from California State University, East Bay.
Edited by Juliana Kenny