A Sprint-SBC deal will let customers use both companies' wireless Internet connections with less hassle.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)Customers of Sprint Corp. and SBC
Communications Inc. will be able to use both companies wireless
Internet connections with less hassle under a reciprocal deal
The agreement allows SBC customers to use Sprints Wi-Fi "hot
spots" and Sprint customers to use SBCs hot spotswithout
setting up new accounts.
Wi-Fi, short for wireless fidelity, radiates an Internet
connection to users within 300 feet. Communications companies have
installed hot spots at places like airports, coffee shops and
hotels, where many people congregate.
Overland Park, Kan.-based Sprint said the dealone of several
in the industrymakes it easier for consumers to use Wi-Fi.
Instead of having several different accounts, users can freely
roam on other hot spots covered through the reciprocal
arrangements, and carriers handle the billing.
"As the end user, you dont want to have to manage five or six
different user name and password accounts," said Wes Dittmer,
general manager of Sprints Wi-Fi services. "Its impeded progress
up to this point, and to some extent it still is."
He anticipates Wi-Fi use to grow as more agreements are signed.
Already, the use of Sprints Wi-Fi network is growing by 25 percent
to 35 percent each month.
"Certainly, we believe it will continue to accelerate," he
said. "We are hearing loud and clear from our corporate customers
that they want thousands of hot spots they can use across the
Sprint has about 3,000 Wi-Fi hot spots available, chiefly
through roaming agreements, including a reciprocal agreement with
AT&T Wireless. The arrangement with SBC adds 2,300 more Wi-Fi hot
spots, and the company plans close to 5,000 more by years end.
Meanwhile, San Antonio-based SBC has set a goal of having more
than 20,000 hot spots available by the end of 2006.