AT&T Wireless Intros Hotspot Service

By Eric Griffith

January 28, 2003

The cellular carrier makes its dash for the public-access hotspot market by targeting business users in airports and hotels, and partners with Wayport for roaming.

As part of its announcements today laying out plans for 2003, AT&T Wireless of Redmond, WA, today unveiled GoPort, its new hotspot service providing high-speed wireless to business travelers in hotels and airports.

The service is currently only deployed in one airport, Denver International, where it has been active for some time. The papers are signed for setting up in Philadelphia International soon.

AT&T Wireless has also entered a roaming agreement with Wayport, so GoPort users can take advantage of the wireless connectivity Wayport has throughout the US at hotels and airports. Roaming airports currently include all terminals and gates in Austin and Dallas, TX; San Jose, CA; and Seattle/Tacoma, WA.

The GoPort service does not require a special client for access. According to AT&T Wireless spokesperson Mike DiGioia, "The customer supplies the card, they find the network, and sign-up for service through a Web page."

To get on a GoPort hotspot, client cards must have Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encryption turned off and should use Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) to automatically obtain an IP Address. The SSID is "AT&T Wireless" or, if roaming on a Wayport network, "Wayport_Access." When on a Wayport network, launching a Web browser will bring up a Wayport Web page from which the user can choose "Roaming Connection" and then select AT&T Wireless/GoPort.

Likewise, AT&T Wireless will integrate Wayport user roaming on GoPort. Wayport also has roaming agreements with partners GRIC, iPass, and Boingo Wireless.

Pricing for GoPort is based on 24-hour connection periods, where a user can sign-in as often as they like in that time. A single connection is $9.99. Five connections (as in five 24-hour periods) is $29.99; 10 connections is $49.99, but both must be used within 180 days of the first connection period. There's also a monthly unlimited usage that is $69.99. (In comparison, Wayport charges its network members $6.95 per single connection, $29.95 per month if you have a one year contract, or $49.95 per month with no contract.) GoPort's 10-Connect and Monthly Unlimited packages can be set up to automatically be charged every 30 days, but there is no time commitment.

GoPort does not tie in to any of the cellular telephone packages from AT&T Wireless, nor is it related at all to Cometa Networks, the new hotspot company formed by Intel, IBM, AT&T and some investors. AT&T Wireless split from AT&T in 2001 to become an independently run company. It is currently the third largest wireless phone company in the US based on revenue.



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