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Hyatt brings Wi-Fi to hotel rooms, lobbies

Under a deal with T-Mobile, the hotel chain will offer wireless Internet service at most of its 208 properties by the end of next year.

    Hyatt Hotels & Resorts on Thursday announced plans to provide wireless Internet service at most of its properties in the United States.

    The service, to be powered by T-Mobile, was made available Thursday at a Hyatt in Charlotte, N.C., and will be expanded during the course of this year and 2005.

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    The Wi-Fi coverage will be accessible from the lobbies and other public areas at most Hyatt hotels, as well as in some guest rooms. The company owns 208 hotels worldwide.

    Hot spots were initially set up haphazardly, in a grassroots manner, to give communities free access to the Internet, but it's becoming more common for businesses to provide the services as a perk. It's not unusual for travelers to find that they're able to access the Internet from public places like airport lobbies, business centers, hotels and McDonald's restaurants. Some service providers are also entering into roaming agreements to share hot-spot access among their customers.

    T-Mobile said it is already operating hot spots in more than 4,600 locations, including at some Starbucks, Borders and FedEx Kinko's Office and Print Center locations, as well as at several airports.

    "Our customers have specifically asked us to extend our service to hotels, and Hyatt was at the top of their list," Joe Sims, vice president and general manager of T-Mobile HotSpot, said in a statement.

    Other hotel chains that offer Wi-Fi service include the Hilton, Marriott and Starwood lines.