AT&T Inc. announced on Dec. 12 the close of its acquisition of Wayport Inc., a move that will significantly augment AT&T’s Wi-Fi footprint in Arkansas.
AT&T now has 169 wireless hotspots in Arkansas, mostly present at McDonald’s, Starbucks, Barnes & Noble and several hotels.
In Northwest Arkansas, the addition includes two Microtel Inns, Mercy Health Systems of Northwest Arkansas and a White Oak Station in Bentonville
AT&T anticipates a boom in the use of wireless handheld devices based on the findings of a study by Yankee Group that shows such usage growing by 175 percent in the next three years.
“Looking ahead, we see Wi-Fi as a strategic opportunity for AT&T,” Ralph de la Vega, president and chief executive officer of AT&T mobility and consumer markets, said in a news release. “We plan to build on our leadership as the largest Wi-Fi provider — bringing more connectivity to more consumers — and working closely with our enterprise customers to enhance and personalize their customer communications and improve the efficiency of their operations.”
The multi-front joint venture between AT&T could help the companies like Starbucks that have seen declining foot traffic as consumers curtail discretionary spending.
Also, Starbucks and partner hotels that already operated wireless networks can reduce network management costs through the partnership with AT&T, the company said in a press release.