October 10, 2002 6:52 AM PDT

Borders opens a chapter on wireless

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T-Mobile USA plans to bring wireless Internet access to about 400 Borders bookstores and cafes across the country early next year, the companies announced Thursday.

Borders stores in California will be the first to offer the service, sometime in the first quarter.

The service, T-Mobile Hotspot, currently provides high-speed wireless Internet access in more than 1,600 locations in the United States, including airports and more than 1,200 Starbucks cafes. The service lets people access the signal via laptops or handheld computers equipped with a wireless card.

Most cell phone carriers such as T-Mobile are now embracing Wi-Fi, also known as 802.11b, for their wireless networks. The networking technology is used to create Internet access through the air within a radius of about 300 feet from a Wi-Fi device.

T-Mobile USA, based in Bellevue, Wash., is part of T-Mobile International, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. T-Mobile claims the largest number of Wi-Fi locations in the United States, with Boingo Wireless in second place and Wayport trailing behind. Sprint PCS is an investor in Boingo.

Borders Group, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., operates more than 400 Borders stores and runs numerous other bookstores under brand names such as Waldenbooks.


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