AT&T says it saw a 41% increase last quarter in iPhone connections at wireless hotspots.
The latest iPhone software has led to surge in Wi-Fi connections, according to data from AT&T.
The second largest U.S. wireless carrier said nearly 15 million users connected to their public wireless hotspots last quarter, which is a 41% increase from the previous quarter. One of the major reasons for this is that the iPhone 3.0 software makes it easier for users to log on to AT&T's Wi-Fi at places such as Starbucks, McDonald's, and other public locations.
Prior to the 3.0 software, logging in was considered tedious. Users had to enter a phone number, receive an SMS message, and then click a link in that text message to access the Wi-Fi. The latest firmware automatically detects and logs in iPhone users without the two-step authentication process.
"Our Wi-Fi network is a competitive differentiator for AT&T and a major value for our customers," said David Christopher, AT&T's chief marketing officer, in a statement. "It's another reason that twice as many smartphone customers choose AT&T than any other carrier."
AT&T offers iPhone and BlackBerry users free Wi-Fi at certain public venues, and it is seeing increased interest in this. The company said it has already had 25.6 million Wi-Fi connections for 2009, which already surpasses the 20 million times the service was used in all of 2008. The service also has the added benefit of easing demand on AT&T's 3G network, which many iPhone users have complained about.
AT&T rivals are also using Wi-Fi as a value-add for subscribers, as multiple T-Mobile smartphones can use Wi-Fi as part of the company's HotSpot@Home home-calling service. Verizon is giving its FiOS customers free Wi-Fi access at more than 100,000 hotspots around the world, and Sprint Nextel is requiring its future BlackBerry smartphones to sport Wi-Fi chips.
The iPhone may be your next full-function computer. InformationWeek has published an independent analysis of this topic. Download the report here (registration required).
We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
2017 State of IT ReportIn today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.