October 30, 2002 7:48 AM PST
T-Mobile embarks on Wi-Fi for airports
Wi-Fi, or 802.11b, is a networking technology that creates a cloud of Internet connectivity that is accessible wirelessly within a radius of around 300 feet of the transmitting device. Laptops or personal digital assistants configured for Wi-Fi are able to automatically sense available wireless networks and log on to the Internet.
T-Mobile, a division of Germany's Deutsche Telekom, has serious plans for installing its wireless access technology. The company has already inked deals with Borders Group and Starbucks, which should make the service available in 2,000 locations across the United States by the end of the year.
Coffee shops and bookstores have a decided consumer appeal. The airport package, however, is meant to attract business customers.
The plans call for American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines to provide Wi-Fi access in around 100 airport clubs and lounges throughout the United States. Those lounges are typically available to frequent fliers and business customers. The companies hope to expand the service to airline gates, but need approval from airports, executives said in a release.
"Availability of a reliable, fast connection in prime airline locations hits the 'sweet spots' for the business traveler who can stop in, quickly download their e-mail in a comfortable location and relax or be on their way," T-Mobile President Robert Dotson said in a release.
Specific financial details of the airline deals were not released.