AT & T Wi-Fi Connections Skyrocket
AT&T’s acquisition of Wayport is paying off. The carrier yesterday reported that its customers made a record 85.5 million connections to the Internet in 2009 using AT&T's Wi-Fi network, four times the number of Wi-Fi connections made in 2008.
In the fourth quarter 2009, AT&T customers made 35.3 million Wi-Fi connections - up 10 million connections from the third quarter of 2009. Fourth-quarter connections also surpassed the number of connections made in the entire first half of 2009.
In a press release, AT&T didn’t say much about its 3G network, other than to say the Wi-Fi network complements its wired broadband and 3G networks, offering Wi-Fi connectivity in more than 20,000 U.S. hot spots. The company did say it expects Wi-Fi usage to continue to surge as more customers use Wi-Fi on their smartphones and integrated devices and have Wi-Fi included with their service.
AT&T now offers about 17 different smartphone models that are Wi-Fi capable. However, that number does not include all the additional Wi-Fi enabled devices that are sold, such as netbooks and 3G LaptopConnect cards, a spokeswoman noted.
Connections from Wi-Fi enabled smartphones and integrated devices now comprise the majority of connections made on AT&T's Wi-Fi network. Smartphones and integrated devices accounted for 72 percent of fourth-quarter connections and 61 percent of the total connections in 2009.
A recent AT&T survey found that 43 percent of AT&T Wi-Fi users said they accessed an AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spot four or more times in the past 30 days.