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T-Mobile, Kinko's hook up for hot spots

T-Mobile USA is copying its own efforts with other chain store partners in its latest agreement with Kinko's to offer hot spot service.

T-Mobile USA is copying its own efforts with other chain store partners in its latest agreement with Kinko's to offer hot spot service.

The Bellevue, Wash.-based wireless phone company on Monday announced a deal to make wireless broadband Internet access available in some 1,100 Kinko's stores. The rollout of the so-called hot spot service will start in the fourth quarter of this year; pricing and location information have not yet been announced. Hot spots are areas where wireless Internet access is available to the public.

"Availability of T-Mobile hot spots at Kinko?s will make it easy for mobile professionals to access their corporate network, check their e-mail, and even wirelessly print documents from anywhere inside our stores," Dan Connors, Kinko?s senior vice president of corporate strategy, said in a statement.

In addition to Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) voice and data services in the United States, T-Mobile has been offering Wi-Fi access in chain stores such as Starbucks since August 2002 and more recently at Borders. T-Mobile is charging Starbucks subscribers $30 per month with a one-year contract for Wi-Fi service or $40 per month without a contract. The company also has metered and prepay plans. Wi-Fi networking technology is used to create Internet access through the air within a radius of about 300 feet from a device.

Hot spots have proven enormously popular among laptop users, who have discovered they can tap into pockets of free high-speed Internet bandwidth, courtesy of unwitting corporations and cooperative neighbors. More recently, operators have begun to build networks of hot spots, so they can charge people for more reliable and more broadly available service.

T-Mobile USA is part of T-Mobile International, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. With more than 2,300 hot spots, T-Mobile USA is one of the leading providers of hot spot service and is planning to have 5,000 locations by the end of the year.