AT&T Inc. today announced the close of its Wayport, Inc. acquisition. The Wayport resources significantly advance AT&T’s strategy for deploying consumer Wi-Fi services that provide broadband access across devices, personalized for the user and location, and innovative business Wi-Fi applications designed to reduce operating costs and increase productivity.
The Wayport deal adds local Wi-Fi network management and infrastructure expertise to AT&T’s world-class communications capabilities and brings its number of domestic hotspots to nearly 20,000 – the most of any U.S. provider. Globally, AT&T has nearly 80,000 Wi-Fi hotspots, including roaming locations.
Further advancing its Wi-Fi strategy, AT&T is nearing completion of the transition of thousands of Starbucks company-owned stores in the United States to AT&T Wi-Fi SM service, strengthening AT&T’s ability to personalize broadband access across devices and customer location.
Specifically, customers at nearly 7,000 company-operated Starbucks locations can now access a tailored, online experience – including local Starbucks content – while logging on to the Internet from their Wi-Fi enabled smartphones, laptop computers and other devices.
“Looking ahead, we see Wi-Fi as a strategic opportunity for AT&T,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and chief executive officer of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “We plan to build on our leadership as the largest Wi-Fi provider – bringing more connectivity to more consumers – and working closely with our enterprise customers to enhance and personalize their customer communications and improve the efficiency of their operations.”
According to Yankee Group, the number of Wi-Fi enabled wireless handsets will grow by at least 175 percent over the next three years. Other reports have projected that more than 1 billion Wi-Fi enabled devices, including wireless handsets, will be shipped in 2012. AT&T is the provider of several popular Wi-Fi enabled devices including the iPhone 3G the BlackBerry® Boldâ„¢.
AT&T continues to see a dramatic spike in Wi-Fi use. Combining both AT&T and Wayport customer use, Wi-Fi connections in November alone surpassed 2.5 million. AT&T drives Wi-Fi use by enabling free Wi-Fi access to nearly 15 million AT&T wired broadband customers, and millions more wireless customers, and is a leading provider of Wi-Fi enabled mobile phones.
For businesses, AT&T Wi-Fi service personalizes their interaction with customers, and delivers innovative applications designed to reduce operating costs and increase productivity. Wi-Fi can enable such integral business tools as inventory management to provide real-time data on in-store stock volumes, product sales, forecasts and more. These applications can be especially useful for the growing number of remote workers wanting access to their company’s enterprises anytime, anywhere.
“As companies look to more cost-effectively â€˜virtualize’ supply chains and conduct business around the globe, a single, managed Wi-Fi network is a critical element,” said Roberta Wiggins, Yankee Group. “A company that can deliver on this growing enterprise demand has a multibillion dollar market opportunity.”
AT&T also managed the transition of Starbucks back-end store network to an innovative new solution – in addition to its customer facing Wi-Fi connections – giving Starbucks the robust infrastructure it needs to deliver new consumer experiences and business solutions while at the same time reducing their overall costs of the store network.