AT&T today announced the launch of an AT&T Wi-Fi hotzone in Chicago. AT&T customers who use Wi-Fi enabled devices around Wrigleyville, near Wrigley Field can use it free.
The Chicago AT&T Wi-Fi hotzone is the third to be deployed as part of a pilot project to examine using Wi-Fi to supplement AT&T’s 3G network. The first pilot AT&T Wi-Fi hotzone launched in New York City’s Times Square in May, with additional Wi-Fi hotzones in downtown Charlotte, N.C. and now Chicago’s Wrigley Field.
In the second quarter 2010, AT&T handled 68.1 million Wi-Fi connections on its network, compared to just 15 million in the same quarter last year. Customers have made 121.2 million connections in the first half of 2010, already far surpassing the 85.5 million connections made in all of 2009.
AT&T CFO Rick Lindner says between 400,000 and 500,000 iPad owners signed up for 3G data plans since the 3G/WiFi version became available on April 30. Of these, more than 75 percent chose the largest monthly data plan (2 gigabytes).
Many of the most popular AT&T smartphones, including the iPhone, support auto-authentication at AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots. Customers can log onto AT&T Wi-Fi hotzones or more than 20,000 AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots nationwide without it counting toward their monthly smartphone data usage.
Verizon Wireless began following suit in December 2009, when it rolled out a WiFi service in certain locations in the United States, Mexico and Canada.