AT&T Acquires Wayport

Posted by Sam Churchill on

AT&T announced today that it has agreed to acquire Wayport, a leading provider of managed Wi-Fi services in the United States. The $275 million cash deal will sharply expand the number of hotspots where customers can get Internet access. Wayport currently provides back-office management for AT&T’s Wi-Fi Hot Spots, so the acquisition brings management of Wi-Fi infrastructure completely under AT&T management.

AT&T’s Wi-Fi footprint will expand to nearly 20,000 domestic hotspots and the company’s global Wi-Fi presence to more than 80,000 locations. Wayport hotspots are in key locations, including select Wyndham, Marriott Vacation Club and Four Seasons hotels; HealthSouth and Sun Healthcare locations; plus McDonald’s restaurants.

Wayport is a neutral host, enabling wireless carriers, ILECs, ISPs, device manufacturers and aggregators like Boingo to offer their own branded Wi-Fi experience. Founded in 1996, Wayport began providing Internet connectivity to the wider community by creating hot spots in approximately 10,000 McDonald’s restaurants throughout the United States.

AT&T says their marketing leadership and enterprise sales force will complement Wayport’s expertise in enabling and managing applications over an integrated network. Wayport will also extend AT&T’s reach in the hospitality, health care, education and retail sectors.

According to AT&T, a broader and deeper AT&T Wi-Fi network means more free connectivity for millions of AT&T customers, including select AT&T smartphone customers, AT&T LaptopConnect customers and AT&T High Speed Internet (including U-verse) subscribers. It may have more to do with keeping iPhone users happy, and from clogging up the rest of their 3G network.

The combined company will be able to deliver a more cost-effective and streamlined solution for enterprises with both the back-office infrastructure and end-user content application managed by one company, says the company.

  • AT&T will provide a comprehensive solution for businesses seeking converged and managed network capabilities – on one network – with global reach, while also bringing ready access to the nation’s largest Wi-Fi, wireless and leading global IP network.
  • Enterprise customers will be able to better utilize private-side applications – effectively managing costs and increasing productivity levels – including inventory management, remote employee learning, point-of-sale applications and remote security monitoring.
  • A unified solution will drive new business partnerships, leveraging AT&T’s unique, innovative services and applications available to enterprise customers.
  • Enterprise customers will benefit from new, revenue-generating opportunities with AT&T’s ability to bring customized, location-based messaging and advertising to more touch points – via a streamlined Wi-Fi solution – reaching more end-users.

The transaction is expected to close as early as the fourth quarter of 2008.

Boingo Wireless has an agreement to access Wayport’s entire North American network of Wi-Fi hotspots, including over 9,000 WiFi-enabled McDonald’s US restaurants. Boingo combines over 100,000 locations from more than 150 leading Wi-Fi operators, like Wayport that serves Starbucks and McDonalds, into one worldwide network.

Boingo has two basic rates; WiFi connections for laptops cost $21.95 month while connections to handheld devices cost only $7.95/month. Additional charges may apply at some premium international locations. Boingo Mobile is currently available for devices running Windows Mobile 6.0, Windows Mobile 5.0, Symbian S60 3rd Edition, and Linux.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Thursday, November 6th, 2008 at 8:06 am .

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