AT&T’s Wi-Fi hotspot business is, well, hot. More users logging on from smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices continues to lead to skyrocketing Wi-Fi hotspot usage across the telecompetitor’s network, AT&T reported in a Jan. 26 news release. AT&T Wi-Fi network traffic nearly tripled in 2011 versus network traffic for 2010, the carrier said. More than a billion AT&T Wi-Fi connections were made during 2011, with 486.9 million connections made in 4Q.

Other highlights for 2011 include:

  • A 550% increase in monthly Wi-Fi data uploads from mobile devices
  • Connections more than tripled in 4Q versus 154 million connections made in 4Q 2010
  • More than three million connections per day were made to the AT&T Wi-Fi Network by users, exceeding total connections made in the entire month of December in 2008
  • AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots increased more than 60% from 2008 through 2011, with Cloud services supporting increased customer ‘syncing’ of information across devices

“As AT&T Wi-Fi connections and usage soar at hospitality locations, retail stores, stadiums and enterprise businesses, venues are benefiting by making Wi-Fi available to their customers and employees,” elaborated Angie Wiskocil, senior vice president, AT&T Wi-Fi Services. “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 continues to keep up with the pace of demand by scaling up its Wi-Fi network infrastructure. There are nearly 30,000 AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots, around the country, and the number’s growing. Most AT&T smartphone customers can access AT&T’s nationwide Wi-Fi network at no additional cost, while Wi-Fi usage doesn’t count against their monthly wireless data plans, the company noted.

High-traffic urban areas continue to be a focal point for the expansion of AT&T’s Wi-Fi network. A seventh major market Wi-Fi hotzone was recently deployed in Indianapolis, which joins other major urban deployments, including in Palo Alto, San Francisco, Chicago and New York City. AT&T rolled out hotzones in 19 NYC park locations, via which more than 1 million connections were made.

Event venues and the hospitality industry are other growing Wi-Fi market segments for AT&T. This quarter, the company announced an agreement with a new sporting venue to offer Wi-Fi inside the arena, while it also recently completed the acquisition of Montreal’s Wi-Fi management services provider Superclick, which specializes in delivering Wi-Fi services to the hospitality industry. Hotel locations account for roughly 45% of of total AT&T Wi-Fi network traffic, according to the telecompetitor.

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