Hotspot Hits for Sept. 5

By Wi-Fi Planet Staff

September 05, 2003

The first week of September brings hotspot news of paying by mobile phone, wireless on the French rails, and ballparks and airplanes going Wi-Fi -- and more.

  • T-Mobile Hotspot continues to rollout Wi-Fi service to Borders Books & Music Stores, saying this week it added locations in Hawaii, Rhode Island, Utah, New Hampshire, Missouri, Indiana, North Carolina, Kansas, Iowa, and Maine. The service is now in 330 Borders Cafe locations. They expect to be in all 420 Borders in time for holiday shopping. The company has been offering free 24-hour passes in the form of coffee cup sleeves to cafe customers.

  • Cometa Networks , the joint hotspot operation of AT&T, Intel, and IBM, will be putting 802.11 access into Tully's Coffee retail locations in California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. All Tully's locations should be done in the next three months. Details on pricing and promotion will be available later this month.

  • Alcatel announced this week that it's providing equipment for a hotpsot trial run by telco Cegetel Group in railway stations in France. Sites will include the Gare du Nord in Paris (already live) and the Lille-Flandres, Lyon-Perrache and Toulouse-Matabiau stations, which will light up next week. The trial is part of a government initiative called "Enterprise Creation Train" which is trying to get new enterprises to launch throughout France.

  • Southeast Airlines , based in Florida, will offer free in-flight Wi-Fi access to passengers starting in 2004. The company is partnering with SkyWay Communications for the system, which will also include video-on-demand, telephone, and other services. The system will reportedly go into all of Southeast's planes.
  • Excilan of Luxembourg, which provides the Pay By Mobile Phone service that allows partner carriers to let their customers pay for hotspot access by confirming the transaction over their phone (a "virtual SIM solution"), announced this week that only six months after launch it has six mobile operators and 30 WISPs as partners, providing access via 2,217 hotspots in 12 countries. They're also not limited to Wi-Fi anymore; they'll provide Internet access over wired connections and Internet terminals.

  • Raley Field in Sacramento, home of the Sacramento River Cats, a Triple-A baseball team, has put Wi-Fi access in for customers in park suites and in the Solon Club, an exclusive club for business and corporate clientele of the ball park. They expect to have Wi-Fi available to every seat in the stadium by next year, suitable for not only watching instant replays but also for doing some mobile-commerce -- you will be able to buy a hot dog and a Coke from your seat over the network. Eventually wireless could start playing a part in ticket sales and stadium security.

  • Van Nelle Designfactory, the factory plant of Van Nelle in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, is meant to be a center for "Design and Communication in the broadest sense of the words." So it would make sense that the building -- which houses many events, product launches, and is home to 42 companies -- should go wireless. The location will get public hotspot access backed by Amsterdam's PicoPoint for backoffice/management and Mangrove Telecomfort (the latter of which is headquartered in the Designfactory itself).

  • The villiage of Whistler in British Columbia, which says it's the number one ski resort in North America (and maybe it is since the alpine skiing, bobsleigh/luge and Nordic events of the 2010 Winter Olympics will be there) is getting a Wi-Fi make over from WISP V-Link , using equipment from Colubris to power V-Link's service called yodel. The wireless access will extend throughout the resort town, eventually to 6,500 guest rooms. Right now, wireless coverage reaches areas of the village such as the 2010 Olympics office, the public library, and several municipal buildings.

  • Pacific Wi-Fi of Salem, Ore., is offering a managed "Hotspot Package" to venues for $695. The location needs only a broadband connection. The package includes a pre-programmed access controller and all the promotional items needed to tell customers (banners, table cards, and other promo items).

  • Netopia has introduced a "hotspot-in-a-box" solution using the technology of its 3-D Reach Wi-Fi Broadband Gateways incorporating back-end authentication and real-time credit card processing via a Web-based transaction system. The boxes include ADSL and Ethernet connections. The boxes should be available this fall, but no pricing was announced.

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