Verizon Wireless inches closer to full WiFi embrace

Verizon Wireless has finally jumped on the bandwagon, offering free WiFi to subscribers, but only those customers that have signed up for Mobile Broadband and Global Access mobile data plans and are using broadband via USB modems, PC cards and netbooks. The plan isn't covering Verizon's WiFi-enabled smartphones such as the Motorola Droid.

Verizon Wireless is reselling hotspot access through its partnership with Boingo Wireless. The company has slowly warmed up to WiFi as many smartphones now include the technology. In July, Verizon's wireline division announced it would provide access to Boingo hotspots to customers of its wired FiOS and high-speed Internet services. Today's announcement brings its mobile broadband customers into the fold.

AT&T already offers WiFi access free to its mobile data customers--including smartphone users--through the firm's acquisition of Wayport. The carrier in October reported tremendous growth in WiFi usage, particularly from smartphone users. In third quarter, AT&T said its customers made 25.4 million WiFi connections in the quarter, a big increase over the 20 million WiFi connections made in all of 2008 and the 25.6 million connections made in the first half of 2009.

For more:
- see this release

Related articles:
AT&T, Verizon bolster WiFi offerings
WiFi becoming valuable customer retention tool           
Verizon's answer to WiFi: MiFi
WiFi takes a seat at the cellular table

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