RealTime IT News

Wayport Passes 1 Million Connections

Citing a growth of 276 percent in use, plus a 317 percent increase in revenue over the last year, Austin, TX-based Wayport today announced it has passed the one million mark in customer connections.

"We're very excited; the growth over the past year has just been phenomenal," says Dan Lowden, Vice President of Marketing at Wayport. "We think it's just the tip of the iceberg."

The one million mark was not reached with Wayport customers alone. The company has strategic relationships with major hotspot providers GRIC Communications, Boingo Wireless, and iPass. Anyone using the clients from these vendors on a Wayport network will be recognized, authenticated, and connected. Wayport later bills the partner for the use.

Wayport stresses however, that customers from its partners were only a small percentage of the connections that brought them to the one million mark.

"The majority of these connections are our own direct connections," says Lowden. Be that as it may, Wayport knows partnerships helped get it where it is today. "We're talking to other players in the industry, to see if they want to roam on to our network. That's one thing we think we're spearheading in the industry."

Lowden also says that partnerships with hardware vendors such as IBM and Dell that bundle a 30-day free Wayport trial with new products helped push up the customer connections.

Wayport defines a "customer connection" as a person paying for unlimited use of Wayport's network for a 24 hour period in one location. Their network can be used by end-users with unlimited access, or by travelers who can access it for a 24-hour period (in a hotel, for example).

The full-access cost ranges from $49.95/month for a month-to-month membership to $29.95/month with a one year contract; prices per connection in a hotel are $9.95 until you check out, or in an airport you can go online all you want until midnight the same day for $6.95.

Some venues also can provide prepaid cards for Wayport access for a limited amount of time.

Wayport networks are currently in 460 hotels (totaling 100,000 guestrooms) and nine airports -- four of which have complete 802.11b coverage in all terminals and gates. Many of the airports also include Wayport's Laptop Lanes business centers, which offer for-rent office space with privacy and equipment for travelers. Wayport does the complete installations on all the networks from end-to-end.

Wayport is sticking to the hotel and airport space to focus on business customers -- obviously that model is working well for them. With over 78 million mobile workers in the United States (according to In-Stat/MDR), that makes sense. However, Lowden says, "We'll be open to all opportunities as businesses expand."

Eric Griffith is the managing editor of 802.11 Planet.

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