London says no to 3G hot spots for the Olympics

Visitors can still use their smartphones and tablets, but can't use them to connect other devices while at the games.

London's Velodrome arena. London 2012

What do 3G hot spots and firearms have in common? They're both banned from the London 2012 Olympic games.

Personal wireless access points and 3G hot spots are among the list of restricted items for the games, which start Friday. Visitors are allowed to bring smartphones and tablets, but are not able to use them as a hot spot to connect other devices. Intomobile first reported on the ban.

"We're just two days away from the start of the first ever Olympic Games in the modern, digital era," said Tomas Mendoza, managing director of Tep Wireless, which offers smartphones and Wi-Fi service to travelers overseas. "But unfortunately the organizers clearly don't appreciate the advantages technology is offering -- and what the public expect as a result."

It's unclear how Olympic officials plan to enforce the ban.

A hot spot uses a cellular connection to create a small Wi-Fi field able to connect several other devices. Over the past few years, it has grown into an increasingly lucrative business for the carriers.

It's unclear whether the ban is in place for safety reasons, or whether there are security concerns.

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About the author

Roger Cheng is the executive editor in charge of breaking news for CNET News. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade. He's a devoted Trojan alum and Los Angeles Lakers fan.

 

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