AT&T to Acquire WiFi Service Provider for $275 Million

AT&T (T), one of North America’s largest mobile carrier announced Thursday that it has agreed to acquire privately-held Wayport, Inc., a leading Wi-Fi broadband internet access provider based in Austin, Texas for approximately $275 million in cash.

The acquisition complements AT&T’s ability to deliver a complete end-to-end solution for businesses worldwide with Wayport’s experience in managing business applications and public access to the Internet over a single network.

The deal also largely expands the number of AT&T WiFi hotspots (venues that offer internet access over a wireless LAN) in the U.S. to nearly 20,000 by adding locations at some Wyndham (WYN), Marriott Vacation Club (MAR) and Four Seasons (FS) hotels; HealthSouth (HLSH) and Sun Healthcare (SUNH) locations; as well as McDonald’s (MCD) restaurants.

The integration of Wayport’s operations takes AT&T’s global Wi-Fi presence to more than 80,000 locations, creating thousands of new ways for customers worldwide to stay in touch.

“We’re seeing exponential growth of Wi-Fi-enabled devices — such as smartphones — combined with a continued dependency on 24/7, anytime, anywhere Internet access across business and consumer market segments,” said John Stankey, president and CEO, AT&T Operations. “Now is the right time for AT&T to affirm our commitment to Wi-Fi leadership. By acquiring Wayport… we’re bringing ready access to the nation’s leading Wi-Fi, wireless and IP networks — on a global scale.”

The combined company will be able to provide a comprehensive solution for businesses seeking converged and managed network capabilities and will deliver a more cost-effective and streamlined service for enterprises – and their customers.

“AT&T’s premier capabilities in both the enterprise and consumer industries will take Wayport’s strength in delivering Wi-Fi solutions over converged networks to an entirely new level,” said Dave Vucina, chairman and chief executive officer of Wayport.

Nearly 300 million Wi-Fi-enabled devices were shipped in 2007. Nearly 1 billion are predicted by 2012.

AT&T recently allowed its iPhone and BlackBerry Bold customers to get free WiFi access to all of its hotspots in the country.

About Ron Haruni 1041 Articles
Ron Haruni is the Co-Founder & Editor in Chief of Wall Street Pit.

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