Back in January, reports began to surface that Avis Rent A Car was planning to offer a mobile Internet/Wi-Fi option to its rental customers, combining in-vehicle Wi-Fi with mobile, cellular-based broadband Internet connectivity—and, of course, customers could use the units anywhere they might go (hotels, restaurants, parks) so long as they have power and cellular access.
Now, apparently Avis going ahead with the system, offering its new Avis Connect service beginning today at San Francisco International Airport. The service is priced at $10.95 a day and enables multiple users to connect to each other and the Internet via a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot which can be powered from a vehicles’s power adapter or cigarette lighter. Autonet Mobile makes systems which can connect to 3G and so-called 2.5G cellular data networks for Internet access; although Avis hasn’t disclosed which mobile operator(s) they’re using for the service, the Avis Connect technology is CDMA-based, so that limits choices to Sprint or Verizon.
Avis plans to introduce the service in more locations in the next few weeks, including San Jose, Los Angeles, and Newark, New Jersey; by the third quarter of 2007, the company hopes to have the service available in San Diego, Seattle, Miami, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, and New York.