Today, AT&T will announce new Wi-Fi hotspots in New York City and San Francisco, reports the AP. Wi-Fi access in Time’s Square, NYC will be beefed up before New Year’s and the carrier will also open its first hotspot inthe Embarcadero waterfront district of San Francisco. Wi-Fi access is designed to help manage ever-growing iPhone and smartphone data use in heavily populated areas.
AT&T is not new to Wi-Fi. The company powers hotspots in Starbucks coffee shops across the country as well as many hotels, airports, and other locations. In May, AT&T opened its first hotspot in Time’s Square, NYC. It also operates hotspots in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood and Charlotte, NC, and plans to continue rolling out new hotspots, including some in sports arenas and stadiums. When iPhones and other devices are near AT&T hotspots, they automatically connect, saving the company precious bandwidth on its cellular network. The spots are relatively cheap to implement and improve user experience significantly in areas where many people are gathered.
The best part: using Wi-Fi hotspots is free for subscribers (and presumably others), regardless of whether you have a data plan on your phone or not. The hotspots also work for laptops, netbooks, tablets, and any other devices that connect through a Wi-Fi connection, like the Nintendo DSi.
Have you used an AT&T hotspot? If you’re near one, let us know how well they work.