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Carrier WiFi

Can Carriers Improve Wi-Fi?

4:30 AM There's an opportunity for mobile operators to integrate Wi-Fi into their service offerings and networks, but how will they do it?

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:35:19 PM
re: Can Carriers Improve Wi-Fi?

I'm pretty lucky -- free Wi-Fi is ubiquitous around the Bay Area. Coffee houses started offering it long ago, before Starbucks had any kind of wireless, so it became the norm. Now it's everywhere -- even the airport, which was a holdout on the "free" part until the new terminal was built and Google sponsored the Wi-Fi.


(Whether the Wi-Fi is secure is a whole other question. I think I know only one coffee place where you can get a secure connection.)


3G data connections, on the other hand, have been atrocious everywhere I go, including home. So, I'm having kind of the opposite experience from Michelle's -- and I feel pretty lucky for it.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:35:23 PM
re: Can Carriers Improve Wi-Fi?

 


Phil,


 


Assuming you are an AT&T wireless customer - you get WiFi access on AT&T for free.  From the AT&T Wireless website:





AT&T Wi-Fi Basic service is included for the following AT&T customers:


High Speed Internet Customers:
Customers with AT&T High Speed Internet, AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet, or AT&T FastAccess® DSL—all speed plans included. No ordering required! Simply use your primary AT&T high-speed Internet membership ID and password at any AT&T Wi-Fi Basic Hot Spot. Learn more at http://www.att.com/gen/general...


AT&T Wireless Customers:
Smartphone customers with selected AT&T Wireless Devices and 3G data rate plans including the Smartphone $30 or higher rate plans (excludes Smartphone Enterprise 4MB plans). Qualifying Wi-Fi enabled Smartphone are listed at www.att.com/getwifi


All Apple iPhone customers include AT&T Wi-Fi Basic service.


AT&T BlackBerry customers with a $30 or higher BlackBerry rate plans (excludes BlackBerry Enterprise 4MB plans (Requires a qualifying Wi-Fi enabled BlackBerry.) Additional restrictions apply. Learn more at: http://www.wireless.att.com/ce...


AT&T LaptopConnect Customers:
LaptopConnect customers with DataConnect service plans of $59.99 per month or higher. Learn more at: http://www.wireless.att.com/ce...


Additional restrictions apply. Subject to applicable AT&T Wi-Fi Basic terms and conditions. See www.att.com/attwifitosaup for further details.


Note: International Wi-Fi access through AT&T Wi-Fi roaming partners is not include with the above devices and rate plans. See www.attwifi.com for more information.





 


seven

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 5:35:23 PM
re: Can Carriers Improve Wi-Fi?

No, I can't. My wireless account is managed by my employer and AT&T can't seem to recognize a customer from one business in any of its other businesses.


Another thing: I'm a U-verse customer and can access basic WiFi... at places that are already free of charge. So there's no added value there.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:35:23 PM
re: Can Carriers Improve Wi-Fi?

 


So, actually you are not an AT&T Wireless customer.  :)


Your employer is.


seven


 

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 5:35:25 PM
re: Can Carriers Improve Wi-Fi?

$20 a month with a one year committment. So it's $240 a year for the honor of connecting at a random Hilton twice a year and a handful of airports (most of which also offer free WiFi).

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:35:25 PM
re: Can Carriers Improve Wi-Fi?

$20 a year?? That is a rip-off. It should be free, since it benefits them. I have the Boingo app on my laptop, but it isn't that good -- get the circle of death a lot while it searches.

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 5:35:26 PM
re: Can Carriers Improve Wi-Fi?

Boingo is the only app I can think of in the US that allows you to find, use, and pay for Wi-Fi on just about any service provider network. AT&T offers a service called AT&T Premier but it's a rip off. $20 month with a one-year committment and they don't really partner with any hotels other than Hilton.

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:35:26 PM
re: Can Carriers Improve Wi-Fi?

I completely agree with you. The worst is when it connects to a bad Wi-Fi spot and takes forever realize it and get off it. 


Sprint also has an app like BT's for Android phones. I haven't tried it, so I'm not sure how easy it makes it, but seems like a no-brainer - for both carriers and their customers.

Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 5:35:26 PM
re: Can Carriers Improve Wi-Fi?

Guess I was feeling extra cranky about this when I recorded the video... But I do get impatient when I can't connect when I need to.


I can get away with using 3G and my 3G dongle so much because there just happens to be quite good cellular coverage where I live, even in my home. If that wasn't the case, then it would be a different story.


Oh, and just an update on the BT FON app I started using... it's not ideal. It does connect automatically to BT and FON hotspots, yes. But now at home, it will connect me to an Openzone hotspot, not my Wi-Fi router ... which means I have to go and change my connection settings. So, there's still some work to do there!

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