[PRNewswire] AT&T, which operates the nation's largest Wi-Fi network with more than 20,000 U.S. hotspots, today reported a significant second-quarter increase in the number of Wi-Fi connections on the AT&T network, fueled by the rising number of customers with Wi-Fi enabled smartphones.
In the second quarter, AT&T handled nearly 15 million Wi-Fi connections on its network -- a 41 percent increase over the first quarter. With approximately 25.6 million connections so far in 2009, AT&T Wi-Fi connections this year have already surpassed the 20 million connections seen in all of 2008.
Additionally, the number of customers with Wi-Fi access as part of their AT&T service continues to grow. AT&T broadband connections -- which include both wireline broadband and wireless LaptopConnect cards -- grew by 209,000 in the second quarter to reach 16.9 million in service. AT&T includes unlimited Wi-Fi access with qualifying AT&T High Speed Internet plans, 3G LaptopConnect plans and with select smartphone plans.
Wi-Fi Connections Increasingly From Smartphones Versus Laptops
In the second quarter, 49 percent of the total connections were made by integrated devices. This is an increase of 41 percent over the first quarter 2009 -- a significant shift that tracks with the growth of Wi-Fi enabled devices.
"Our Wi-Fi network is a competitive differentiator for AT&T and a major value for our customers," said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. "We include unlimited Wi-Fi access with the majority of our broadband and smartphone plans, and our customers are clearly taking advantage of it. It's another reason that twice as many smartphone customers choose AT&T than any other carrier."
AT&T Investing in Wi-Fi Network
Since the beginning of the year, AT&T quadrupled its Wi-Fi network authentication capacity in preparation for increased sessions, the ongoing rise in consumer demand for Wi-Fi, and to ensure reliable performance on the network.
"Our customers want both speed and mobility," said Angie Wiskocil, senior vice president, AT&T Wi-Fi Services. "They love the convenience that AT&T Wi-Fi offers, and we continue to enhance our Wi-Fi network, expand our portfolio of Wi-Fi enabled devices and extend our hotspot footprint to offer the best customer experience."
Also in the second quarter, AT&T made several Wi-Fi enhancements and formed strategic relationships including smartphone-friendly upgrades to the Giants Digital Dugout Wi-Fi portal at AT&T Park in San Francisco, which serve to enhance the fan experience at Giants home games, and a strategic agreement with Barnes & Noble bookstores nationwide to provide complimentary Wi-Fi to any customer that visits a store.
AT&T's Wi-Fi network complements its wired broadband and wireless 3G networks, offering Wi-Fi connectivity in more than 20,000 hotspots in the U.S. -- including retail stores, restaurants and airports from coast-to-coast.
Largest Wi-Fi network claim based on non-municipal company and owned and operated hotspots. An 802.11 b/g enabled device required.
AT&T Sees Significant Rise in Wi-Fi Hotspot Connections During Second Quarter
see also A full list of AT&T Wi-Fi locations