who use Wi-Fi could soon access the Internet at a much larger number of hot
spots, thanks to a new deal between Sprint and SBC Communications.
The two companies recently
announced an agreement that will allow their customers to use both companies’ networks, much like cell phones that use roaming. Internet users would use
their existing user IDs and passwords, and would pay through their current
SBC’s Wi-Fi network includes more
than 2,300 hot spots nationwide, including airports, hotels, coffee shops and
The UPS Store and MailBoxes Etc. locations. SBC plans to make more than 20,000
Wi-Fi hot spots available to customers by the end of 2006 by working with
Cingular Wireless and other companies.
Sprint is focusing on providing Wi-Fi in areas such as
airports, hotels, convention centers and other public venues. The firm plans to
offer at least 10,000 hot spots to its customers by the end of the year.
Sprint now has more than 2,600 Wi-Fi hot spots in locations
such as the Kansas City, MO, Salt Lake City and Louisville, KY, airports; the
Addison, TX, convention center; and the Tysons Corner, VA, shopping center.
However, most of those hot spots are available through roaming agreements with
AT&T Wireless, AirPath, WayPort, STSN and TruckStop.net.
Overland Park, KS-based company Sprint will offer SBC customers the roaming
option at only those hot spots owned by Sprint. And customers of Truckstop.net,
which has a similar agreement with Sprint, will not be able to use SBC hot
spots under the pact.
announced late last year that it would offer the high-speed Internet service at
as many as 3,000 truck stops
nationwide through a deal with Sprint. Pilot Travel Centers, one of the largest
truck stop chains, joined that network in December.