Verizon adds WiFi to mobile broadband plans, but skips smartphones

Verizon Wireless customers who have Mobile Broadband and Global Access mobile data plans will now be able to access thousands of WiFi hotspots in the U.S., Canada and Mexico for no additional charge. The plan covers customers who access the Internet via Verizon's USB modems, PC cards and netbooks; however, the plan does not cover Verizon's WiFi-enabled smartphones such as the Motorola Droid.

Verizon Wireless resells WiFi hotspot access through its partnership with Boingo Wireless. 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.

Verizon Wireless spokesperson Debra Lewis said Verizon WiFi will be particularly appealing to customers who travel to Mexico and Canada because they will be able to reduce their data roaming charges in those countries.

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

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