RealTime IT News

Hotspot Program Lends PDAs to Travelers

In an attempt to spur interest in both handhelds and wireless local area network (WLAN) "hotspots" for connecting to the Internet, Swedish wireless operator Telia has launched a program to lend travelers a WLAN-equipped handheld at no charge.

Telia launched its "Fly & Try" project at Stockholm's Bromma Airport in which travelers are lent the handheld for twenty-four hours free of charge. Telia said it considers it a test project to see how interested customers are in the service.

"The aim of 'Fly & Try' is to demonstrate, primarily to business travelers, how a mobile solution can facilitate and streamline their working day," said Mats Salomonsson, acting head of Telia Mobile Sweden. He added that the operator wanted to demonstrate that "waiting time at the airport can be turned into efficient working time."

Ultimately, though, the company is trying to entice business travelers to subscribe to its HomeRun program, which provides WLAN hotspot access in airports, hotels and other public places. The company said it has installed more than 400 HomeRun hotspots in Scandinavia.

Subscribers obtain the loaner units from a booth in the departure hall of the airport and provide credit card information as security, the company said. The test project will un until May 31, after which the operator said it will assess how well it worked.

WLAN hotspots are gaining popularity in both the U.S. and Europe. Located in public places, they enable users of WLAN-equipped devices such as handhelds to connect to the Internet at high speeds.