Wayport, Intel to Promote Hotspots

With the imminent arrival of laptops using Centrino chipset (formerly code-named Banias) — the new laptop processor micro-architecture from Intel that will integrate first 802.11b and eventually dual-band 802.11a/b — the company has decided make a marketing push to promote Wi-Fi awareness with public Internet access provider Wayport .

The two companies will collaborate on nationwide advertising and marketing to drive awareness of Wayport powered hotspots. Wayport currently has access in 475 hotel common areas (and a few with Wi-Fi in guest rooms) and 10 airports around the United States. According to Dan Lowden, the vice president of marketing at Wayport, they’ll have over 500 locations in a short period of time.

Despite the high number of locations and total users — 126,000 people per month currently make paid connections to the Wayport network, up from about 40,000 a year ago — the wireless users make up only a fraction of total use, about 5 to 10 percent according to Lowden.

“But, that’s up 30 percent from last year,” he says. “The wireless keeps growing rapidly… they’ll all go to Wi-Fi eventually.”

To help push that, Wayport is offering a 30-day free trial to anyone using a laptop powered by the Intel Centrino chipset. Intel will in turn be advertising use of Wayport hotspots in public areas such as airport terminals as part of its marketing campaign.

This deal is similar to a recent announcement from Intel and iPass, where the two companies have made sure that the iPassConnect client software will work seamlessly with PCs running the Centrino-based Wi-Fi connections.

Wayport is also offering a 30-day free trial and discounted memberships to users of Dell Latitude and Inspiron laptops that have Wi-Fi capabilities. Dell sells a line of Wi-Fi products under the TrueMobile name and is making Wi-Fi standard on the Latitude line of notebooks even before Centrino is available.

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