[prnewswire] AT&T, an industry leader in Wi-Fi with the nation's largest Wi-Fi network, today reported that use of its more than 20,000 U.S. Wi-Fi hotspots surged to 53.1 million connections in the first quarter. This is nearly five times higher than the 10.7 million connections made in the first quarter last year, and more than half of the 85.5 million total Wi-Fi connections made in 2009.
AT&T's extensive Wi-Fi network complements its wireless and wired broadband networks. As AT&T customers increasingly adopt Wi-Fi enabled smartphones and devices, they're relying more and more on Wi-Fi hotspots to stay connected when they're on the go.
At the end of the first quarter, nearly 32 million AT&T customers had AT&T Wi-Fi access included with their qualifying smartphone, AT&T High Speed Internet and 3G LaptopConnect plans, an added value and convenience that drives Wi-Fi usage. The total number of AT&T broadband connections — which includes both wireline broadband and wireless LaptopConnect cards — grew by 278,000 in the first quarter to reach 17.5 million in service.
Many of the most popular AT&T smartphones support auto-authentication at AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots, making it even more convenient for customers to connect. Smartphones and other integrated devices account for the majority of connections made on AT&T's Wi-Fi network. In the first quarter of 2010, 69 percent of Wi-Fi connections were made from smartphones and integrated devices, up from 35 percent a year ago in the first quarter of 2009.
AT&T continues to expand the wide selection of Wi-Fi enabled devices available to AT&T customers and its convenient Wi-Fi hotspots across the U.S., including venues in hospitality, retail, healthcare, sport arenas/stadiums and university locations. Recent additions include Wi-Fi access throughout Tulsa International Airport and nearly 500 patient rooms and hospital patient areas at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
"We know that Wi-Fi is an essential part of our customers' broadband experience, bridging our wireless and wired broadband networks, and we're making sure people can connect to Wi-Fi everywhere they live, work and play," said Angie Wiskocil, senior vice president, AT&T Wi-Fi Services. "Whether you're at your local coffee shop and need to download a large presentation, or you're traveling and need to access email at your hotel, AT&T has you covered with our Wi-Fi network."
AT&T Wi-Fi Network Usage Soars to More Than 53 Million Connections in the First Quarter