Alltel Adds Wi-Fi Option

Alltel's new services follow Wi-Fi announcements from rivals Nokia and RIM.

Alltel Wireless launched Wi-Fi services Oct. 8, providing customers with a laptop or a smart phone with Internet connections through hot spots in North and South America. Boingo Wireless powers the new service.

Alltel, of Little Rock, Ark., is offering a Wi-Fi and EVDO Wireless Internet bundle, delivering unlimited Wi-Fi access from any supported hot spot starting at $9.99 per month, in addition to the customers wireless Internet plan. Prepaid Wi-Fi cards are available at Alltel Wireless retail stores for $19.99 per week or $9.99 per day.

"Wi-Fi is an excellent complement to Alltels existing portfolio of wireless Internet solutions and is a good fit with Alltels strategy to provide customers with more ways to connect wirelessly to the Internet, e-mail or corporate intranet," David Maddox, director of product marketing for Alltel Wireless, said in a statement.

Alltels Wi-Fi addition follows Nokias Sept. 20 announcement of a new phone with Wi-Fi capabilities. The 6301 uses UMA (unlicensed mobile access) technology to allow users to take advantage of either a GSM network or a broadband Internet-connected WLAN (wireless LAN) network for mobile services. Europes Orange mobile network will be the first to offer the phone.

In the United States, Research in Motion, of Waterloo, Ontario, said Sept. 19 it is releasing its first BlackBerry with Wi-Fi capabilities. The service runs on AT&Ts network. T-Mobile is also offering Wi-Fi service for its handsets. The service—available through T-Mobile hot spots—costs $10 in addition to a users standard service charges.


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