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MCI expands Wi-Fi footprint

The carrier announces that it will more than triple its footprint of Wi-Fi access points through a partnership with Boingo Wireless.

MCI will more than triple its footprint of Wi-Fi access points through a partnership with Boingo Wireless, MCI announced Tuesday.

The roaming agreement not only gives MCI an international presence with its Wi-Fi

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locations but also keeps the company competitive with T-Mobile USA. T-Mobile announced a deal with iPass on Monday, which will give iPass' corporate users the ability to connect to T-Mobile's nearly 4,000 hot-spot locations.

MCI, via its deal with Boingo, plans to add 2,000 hot spots worldwide by the end of March--bringing its total to 2,600 Wi-Fi locations. Next year, MCI also plans to add an additional 3,000 hot spots via Boingo and MCI's other partner, WayPort.

"By expanding our hot-spot capabilities internationally and making it possible for workers on the go to remain connected, our customers no longer worry about missing important messages no matter where they are," said a statement from Nancy Gofus, senior vice president of MCI marketing.

Wi-Fi hot spots give people access to wireless Internet connections from such public locations as hotels, airports and restaurants. Analysts expect the most frequent users of hot-spot services to be business travelers.

MCI's business users will be able to tap into high-speed wireless hot spots via PDAs (personal digital assistants) or laptop computers, available in more than 19 countries by end of the first quarter.

The service will let people enter corporate networks and retrieve e-mail or use applications.