Monday, July 26, 2010

AT&T bringing wi-fi "hotzone" to uptown Charlotte



If you frequent uptown Charlotte and use AT&T's network for mobile communication, here's some excellent news: AT&T today is announcing that it has created a Wi-Fi "hotzone" uptown. The zone will provide coverage along South Brevard Street from the area near the NASCAR Hall of Fame plaza to East Trade Street. It will also be available for riders waiting to use the light rail trains.

It's only the second such project nationally for AT&T, which is using Wi-Fi to supplement its mobile broadband coverage in areas with what it calls "consistently high 3G traffic and mobile data use." (The first was in New York city's Times Square in May. A Third zone will be rolled out in Chicago in the coming weeks).

AT&T has struggled to keep up with soaring data usage by iPhones, netbooks, iPads and other internet-enabled devices. But it may be on to something -- use of the Times Square hotspot has proven better than expected.

"Our first AT&T Wi-Fi hotzone in New York City has received praise from our customers, and we're excited to introduce this Wi-Fi solution in Charlotte," AT&T senior vice president Angie Wiskocil said in a statement. "With these pilot AT&T Wi-Fi hotzones, we're examining new ways to use a combination of our Wi-Fi and 3G networks to deliver the best possible mobile broadband experience."

Cynthia Marshall, president of AT&T's North Carolina operations, added: "This is further evidence of our continuing commitment to invest in North Carolina and bring the latest communications technology to this state."

AT&T customers, is this welcome news? Or would you have liked to see the company take a different path for improving your experience on its network?

9 comments:

Eric Frazier said...

Quick update from Eric Frazier: I was trying to find out for certain whether this zone will cover the office towers along Tryon Street, but A PR spokesperson for AT&T tells me they can't say whether specific buildings (like, say, the Bank of America HQ) will or won't be covered by the hotzone.

Eric Frazier said...

One more update, via AT&T, explaining access to the hotzone: "AT&T customers with a qualifying high speed Internet, smartphone or 3G LaptopConnect plan (can) get unlimited usage on our U.S. Wi-Fi network at no additional cost, which includes our new Wi-Fi hotzones. Further, most AT&T smartphones support auto-authentication so customers can seamlessly switch from AT&T’s 3G network to the AT&T Wi-Fi hotzone without being prompted. AT&T enables auto-authentication for iPhone, Blackberry and select Android and Windows Mobile devices. Customers can visit www.att.com/wifiaccess for instructions on how to connect to Wi-Fi on a smartphone."

Rev. Mike said...

AT&T customers, is this welcome news? Or would you have liked to see the company take a different path for improving your experience on its network?

BOTH. Glad to hear they are setting this up downtown, and I'm waiting for them to put one up in my backyard! :)

Anonymous said...

That makes some sense, Eric. That are other variables with specific buildings.

I just stayed in Times Square for a few days last week. I'm not an AT&T customer so I had no idea about the hotzone, but it sounds good. For Charlotte to get something that only NYC has, and especially the iconic Times Square, is pretty cool

Anonymous said...

This is great news for Charlotte. AT&T's just selected Charlotte as one of 6 cities to be the first to upgrade to their HSUPA+ 3G network.....basically it's 4G speeds. They are doing this until they officially roll-out their LTE 4G network next year. I currently get 4.5 to 5 mbps download speeds on my iPhone 4.....which is super fast for a phone! I can't wait until LTE gets here. I love the WIFI solution for some of the downtown locations. I have problems inside Time Warner Arena sometimes, so this will be perfect!

Chris said...

Any idea on what type of speeds we're talking about? Specifically upload speeds. TWC Biz is killing me!

Anonymous said...

Upload speeds on AT&T's HSUPA+ is about 1.2 mbps....which is still good. It's actually better than TW Cable's upload speeds........however, I still get much better downloads speeds w/ TW's service (usually between 10 and 12 mbps). Then again, I would hope broadband cable would be faster than 3G wireless! HA! If you guys need fast speeds, check out AT&T's UVerse. That service is fast....and much cheaper than TW when combined with HDTV service. I don't have access to it yet in Huntersville, but my buddy that lives downtown gets around 22-24 mbps down...not sure about up! That kills TW!

Anonymous said...

great idea for the city.

Armil@att high speed internet said...

Thanks for this great information:AT&T has struggled to keep up with soaring data usage by iPhones, netbooks, iPads and other internet-enabled devices. But it may be on to something -- use of the Times Square hotspot has proven better than expected. This is really a reliable source.