AT&T Plans To Offer Free Wi-Fi To Fix Data Congestion Issues
AT&T has launched a pilot Wi-Fi project as a solution to fix data congestion issues in places with high smartphone density like New York City.
The carrier has deployed a new Wi-Fi "Hotzone" in bustling Times Square area to offer free wireless internet connectivity to its customers with 3G smartphones like iPhone, mobile broadband cards, or who use AT&T High Speed Internet plans.
In a recently published media statement, AT&T's Chief Technology Officer, John Donovon has said that this is a pilot project that seeks to explore the use of Wi-Fi to address data congestion issues experienced by users in areas where there is a high 3G network usage.
Smartphone users who are in the coverage area of the Wi-Fi Hotzone shall be automatically switched from the 3G network to Wi-Fi, which will ensure an optimal web experience for these users. AT&T has noted that the company will take the learnings from this pilot project to install similar Wi-Fi Hotzones in several high-density markets across USA.
As mentioned earlier, Wi-Fi Hotzones are only temporary fixes to the data congestion issue and cannot be a substitute for improvements to the network's cellular infrastructure. However, with AT&T's HSPA+ 14.4 Mbps broadband network expected to roll out only by the end of this year, the carrier has its task cut out ahead of the launch of iPhone 4G next month.
Under these circumstances, the latest move appears to not only counter the threat from rival carriers, but also offer AT&T subscribers a better user experience until the necessary infrastructure is built.
What do you think about the idea of offering free Wi-Fi to fix the data congestion issues? Do you think it will stop users from switching to other carriers when AT&T loses its iPhone exclusivity?
[via Boy Genius Report]
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