AT&T Sells off Europe Hotspot Business

AT&T is selling off its Wayport Wi-Fi business in Europe, which includes hotspots in airports, hotels and McDonald's, to Swisscom.

It did not disclose terms of the deal. It will retain Wayport assets in the U.S.

AT&T purchased Wayport in 2008 for US$275 million in cash.

Europeans and travelers to the region may not be pleased to hear of the agreement. Swisscom, already one of the biggest providers of hotspots in Europe, has a reputation for offering high-priced and sometimes low-quality Wi-Fi services in hotels and conference centers. In Europe, Wi-Fi access in hotels, including that offered by Wayport, often costs upwards of €30 (US$40) per day.

Wayport was one of the first companies to emerge to offer hotspots in businesses and built up one of the most extensive networks. It became one of the largest service providers in the U.S. after winning a deal to offer service in McDonald's. As a pioneer in the business, it experimented with different ways to price access to hotspots.

In the U.S., AT&T's broadband customers get free access to its hotspots, including those in Starbucks coffee shops.

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