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Carrier WiFi

Wayport Scores $20M

Wayport Inc., one of few remaining big-name startups from the Golden Age of the Hotspot (ca. 2002), has scored an additional $20 million in funding from undisclosed investors to fund network expansion and -- possibly -- "strategic acquisitions."

The firm, which has raised a grand total of $137 million in its eight-year history, alluded to potential acquisitions in its funding announcement but isn't revealing much else yet.

"Wayport is not discussing strategic plans," a spokeswoman for a company told Unstrung.

The company is similarly un-forthcoming on the prospects of it going public anytime soon. "Wayport is evaluating all options," says the laconic spokeswoman [ed. note: answer cloudy, ask later].

Wayport -- so far anyway -- is one of the few major startups to have survived the hotspot shakeout, leaving WiFi weenies like the now-defunct Cometa face down in its dust, after Wayport won the McDonalds contract to provide hotspots in the U.S. (see Cometa Closes)

In fact, the only other prominent startup still in the game is Boingo Wireless Inc., although there is a host of smaller startups still out there... somewhere (see Boingo Bets on VOIP). Enterprise-oriented access provider iPass Inc. (Nasdaq: IPAS) -- you'll remember -- went public a while ago (see IPass May Start IPO Trend).

All three of these companies have signed a number of high-profile partnerships to bolster their hotspot efforts (see Boingo, EarthLink Expand Deal , iPass, Yahoo Expand Agreement, and Wayport Enables SBC WiFi). Such partnerships may prove crucial as the larger service providers start to figure how to offer hotspot services and integrate them into their overall networks. — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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