), plans to link 10,000 hotspots on every continent into a hotspot network that would allow seamless roaming. The hotspots come from the networks of over 120 participating services — T-Systems won’t operate sites itself, but will act as a clearinghouse. End users would only get one bill per month to use them all. Partners already include providers like Ozone and Connexion by Boeing, and the virtual network is likely to include hotspots of other Deutsche Telekom sister companies (like T-Mobile’s), though that’s not spelled out in the press release.
In related news, Starbucks recently said that it has T-Mobile hotspots installed in about 60% of its U.S. stores — 3,100 out of 5,400 locations. They say hotspot subscribers visit Starbucks an average of eight times per month and stay around an hour. 90% of the connections take place during off-peak business hours for the coffee maker — after 9am.
And keep an eye out for a new ad campaign from FedEx Kinko’s. The chain, which features Wi-Fi connectivity provided by T-Mobile, wants you to use Kinko’s as your “Office on the Road,” complete with printing, shipping, and Internet access. — July 7, 2004
According to Web site AME Info, the Emirates airline serving the Middle East now offers wireless Internet access on planes that had the Wi-Fi hardware pre-installed, as well as the Airbus A340-500. Emirates operates flights between Dubai and five other areas: New York, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and Christchurch. Emirates has five planes outfitted as hotspots, and expects to get five more in the next few months. — July 7, 2004 HoustonChronicle.com says that the Houston Astros ball club started to provide Wi-Fi. The team has partnered with Time Warner Cable Houston to turn Minute Maid Park into a hotspot. Cost is $3.95 to get four hours of access while at the game. — July 7, 2004 Hot on the heels of announcing it had reached a milestone 11,179 hotspots worldwide, iPasssaid today it’s added another provider, Japan’s Yahoo!BB, which is a joint offering of Softbank BB and Yahoo!Japan. The 600 hotspots they run should be part of the iPass footprint sometime this month. — July 7, 2004 The Register says that Great North Eastern Railway (GNER), the UK railway company, is now providing Wi-Fi-based Internet access to its Second Class passengers, at a cost of 2.95 to 9.95 pounds, depending how long they use the service. First Class gets access for free. Service is now available between London and Scotland along the East Coast, with service expanding to ten more East Coast trains by the end of the year, covering 302 train carriages that are part of its Mallard fleet of refitted electric vehicles. They’ll even include extra power outlets.
Another railway company in the UK, Virgin Trains, is working with Broadreach Networks to put Wi-Fi into all of its cars by this fall, with access already available in lounges for First Class passengers in London Euston, Coventry, Birmingham New Street, Stoke-on-Trent and Manchester Piccadilly. — July 7, 2004