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T-Mobile reports huge Wi-Fi growth for US

T-Mobile USA is reporting big growth in the number of users of its Wi-Fi hotspot services.

It said the number of people using its short-range hotspots in cafes, airports and hotels reached 3 million for the first three months of the year, compared to 8 million for the whole of 2004.

Many of these are repeat users and the operator says around 500,000 regularly use its service.

In Europe, operators have combined short-range Wi-Fi hotspot access with long-range 3G and 2.5G mobile network access, to enable customers to use a single laptop data card to get access from almost any location.

While Wi-Fi typically offers 10Mbps (megabits per second) access, 3G offers no more than 384kbps (kilobits per second).

T-Mobile USA currently operates around 5,700 hotspots and is now expanding the number, with roaming agreements with rival operators playing a key role in the expansion programme.


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