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Friday, 07 November 2008 07:01

AT&T to buy Wi-Fi Wayport

Written by David Stellmack

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$275 million cash deal

AT&T Inc. has announced that it will acquire privately held Wi-Fi hot spot provider, Wayport, Inc. of Austin, Texas. Wayport has already been providing AT&T’s Wi-Fi hotspots in U.S. restaurant locations such as McDonald’s and Starbucks, but now AT&T will also own all of Wayport’s infrastructure and assets.

The deal is said to be worth $275 million in cash, and will increase the number of AT&T hot spots in the U.S. to 20,000, to now include hotels and health care facilities. Part of the allure of Wi-Fi signals are that they are up to ten times faster than cellular network speeds and also operate better indoors than cellular signals do.

The CEO of AT&T Operations, a business unit of AT&T, John Stankey, indicated that the Wayport purchase makes sense with the "exponential growth" of Wi-Fi equipped devices. About 300 million Wi-Fi equipped devices were shipped in 2007, while in 2012 one billion are predicted to be on the market in 2012, according to research studies.

A spokesperson for AT&T indicated that the Wayport acquisition will reduce operating costs for AT&T as well as for businesses that want to offer Wi-Fi to their customers. The Wayport acquisition will capitalize on AT&T’s strategy of providing both Wi-Fi and wide-area network connections to both consumers and businesses.

The Wayport purchase "…clearly makes AT&T the domestic Wi-Fi leader and also supports AT&T's iPhone strategy,” according to Gartner Inc. analyst, Phillip Redman, "It makes sense looking at multiple technologies to provide the best coverage."

Last modified on Friday, 07 November 2008 07:28

David Stellmack

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