International business travellers seeking wireless broadband connectivity on both sides of the Atlantic could benefit from a service launched by the T-Mobile subsidiaries of Germany's Deutsche Telekom.
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The latest Wi-Fi offering allows T-Mobile customers to access - with the same user name and password - more than 4,100 hotspots in the US and another 700 in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.
T-Mobile's wireless broadband service, based on the 802.11b standard, ranges in price from $10 for a 24-hour day pass to $40 for a month.
At the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes, T-Mobile also revealed plans for a multinetwork service that will allow users to roam "seamlessly" across three different wireless networks, GPRS, WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) and Wi-Fi.
The hand-over between the networks will be automatic, said T-Mobile International chief executive officer Rene Obermann.
The operator will collaborate with Cisco Systems, IBM and Intel in a pilot project which will enable students, initially at Frankfurt University and later at several other European universities, to roam across all three wireless broadband networks.
For the pilot, T-Mobile will provide the connectivity, offering students and professors bundled fees, which will include Wi-Fi vouchers for the operator's hotspots and preferential fees for GPRS and WCDMA networks.
Cisco will provide the wireless Lan infrastructure, while IBM will furnish the notebooks using Intel's Centrino mobile technology.
The pilot begins in April and is expected to last several months. A wider roll-out is planned from July to cover universities in Austria, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and the UK. In total, the group is targeting more than 100 universities.
A key goal of the university initiative is to test every piece in the communications chain, ranging from the wireless infrastructure and devices to content and the customer experience.
John Blau writes for IDG News Service