RealTime IT News

Nextel Tempts Travelers With Wi-Fi

Nextel today launched a new Wi-Fi service allowing business travelers unlimited connections to more than 7,000 access points.

The Reston, Va., wireless carrier's WiFi HotSpot service, offered with partners Boingo Wireless and Wayport, is free for the first month and $39.99 per month thereafter.

The price also includes wired-Ethernet connection in more than 150,000 hotel rooms served by Wayport.

For broader coverage outside of hotspot zones, users can add Nextel's Wireless PC Access for a total promotional rate of $54.99 per month. PC Access requires a PC card and runs over Nextel's enhanced data network.

"These competitive and differentiated services combine unlimited use, predictable costs and the nationwide reach of Nextel -- addressing the key concerns of individual customers as well as IT managers," Greg Santoro, Nextel's vice president of products and services, said in a statement.

Both services use Nextel's Connection Manager software, which provides single-click access to the Internet. When a Wi-Fi signal is unavailable, the software can automatically connect to Nextel's data network.

Nextel, which has about 16 million customers, is debuting its Wi-Fi a month after Verizon pulled the plug on free Wi-Fi access across New York.

Instead of free Wi-Fi access as an incentive to its DSL customers, the Baby Bell will concentrate on deploying a fee-based cellular Internet service for the metropolitan area.