Quicker Embrace of GSM Would Help Stateside Wi-Fi

By Carol Ellison  |  Posted 2004-06-04 Print this article Print

Phones based on the Global System for Mobile Communications, already popular in Europe, use the Subscriber Identity Module to resolve billing among many networks.

We seem to need pager alerts these days to keep up with competition in the Wi-Fi hot-spot space. Yesterday, just a week after Wayport announced a retail partnering program that challenged T-Mobile USAs dominance among retail hot spots, T-Mobile countered with an aggressive move into Wayports bread-and-butter niche, the travel and hospitality sector. T-Mobile lit up service at the Hyatt Charlotte in North Carolina on Thursday morning and announced that it will unwire Hyatt hotels in Columbus, Ohio; Chesapeake Bay, Md.; and the Grand Hyatt hotel in New York City within weeks. The company promises to deploy hot spots in most of Hyatts 200-plus hotels by 2005.
Wayport last week rolled out its Wi-Fi World, an ambitious program packaging a network of partnerships and managed services pegged to its efforts to unwire McDonalds restaurants.
But Wi-Fi World is more than just a deployment plan for McDonalds. Its Wayports ticket into hot-spot deployments in restaurants, truck stops, stores, shopping malls and other retail venues. Click here to read Carol Ellisons take on Wayports Wi-Fi World program. Now comes T-Mobile and its new partnership with Hyatt. This is shaping up as a battle of the titans. Given the speed at which both companies are expanding their footprints in the competitive hot-spot space, the two are looking more and more like the last left standing in what has become one of the industrys bloodier competitions. Last month, Cometa Networks, a joint venture of AT&T, IBM and Intel, joined the league of high-profile providers that have shuttered their operations in the face of rising costs and diminishing revenue projections. A recent report from the Wissenschaftliches Institut für Kommunikationsdienste (WIK, which translates to the Scientific Institute for Communication Services), a leading research firm that tracks the telecommunications industry in Germany, suggests that fallout in the provider space may be nearing an end. Next page: The convergence factor.

Carol Ellison is editor of eWEEK.com's Mobile & Wireless Topic Center. She has authored whitepapers on wireless computing (two on network security–,Securing Wi-Fi Wireless Networks with Today's Technologies, Wi-Fi Protected Access: Strong, Standards-based Interoperable Security for Today's Wi-Fi Networks, and Wi-Fi Public Access: Enabling the future with public wireless networks.

Ms. Ellison served in senior and executive editorial positions for Ziff Davis Media and CMP Media. As an executive editor at Ziff Davis Media, she launched the networking track of The IT Insider Series, a newsletter/conference/Web site offering targeted to chief information officers and corporate directors of information technology. As senior editor at CMP Media's VARBusiness, she launched the Web site, VARBusiness University, an online professional resource center for value-added resellers of information technology.

Ms. Ellison has chaired numerous industry panels and has been quoted as a networking and educational technology expert in The New York Times, Newsday, The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio's All Things Considered, CNN Headline News, WNBC and CNN/FN, as well as local and regional Comcast and Cablevision reports. Her articles have appeared in most major hi-tech publications and numerous newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor.

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