AT&T, which operates the nation's largest Wi-Fi network with more than 20,000 U.S. hotspots, today reported a significant second-quarter increase in the number of Wi-Fi connections on the AT&T network, fueled by the rising number of customers with Wi-Fi enabled smartphones.
In the second quarter, AT&T handled nearly 15 million Wi-Fi connections on its network -- a 41 percent increase over the first quarter. With approximately 25.6 million connections so far in 2009, AT&T Wi-Fi connections this year have already surpassed the 20 million connections seen in all of 2008.
Additionally, the number of customers with Wi-Fi access as part of their AT&T service continues to grow. AT&T broadband connections -- which include both wireline broadband and wireless LaptopConnect cards -- grew by 209,000 in the second quarter to reach 16.9 million in service. AT&T includes unlimited Wi-Fi access with qualifying AT&T High Speed Internet plans, 3G LaptopConnect plans and with select smartphone plans.
Wi-Fi Connections Increasingly From Smartphones Versus Laptops
In the second quarter, 49 percent of the total connections were made by integrated devices. This is an increase of 41 percent over the first quarter 2009 -- a significant shift that tracks with the growth of Wi-Fi enabled devices.
"Our Wi-Fi network is a competitive differentiator for AT&T and a major value for our customers," said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. "We include unlimited Wi-Fi access with the majority of our broadband and smartphone plans, and our customers are clearly taking advantage of it. It's another reason that twice as many smartphone customers choose AT&T than any other carrier."