T-Mobile, Kinko's detail hot-spot plans

The mobile-telecommunications business and the 24-hour photocopy chain flesh out their plans to install hot-spot service in 1,100 Kinko's stores by early 2004.

Richard Shim Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Richard Shim
writes about gadgets big and small.
Richard Shim
2 min read
T-Mobile USA and Kinko's announced on Thursday further details of their plans to install hot-spot service in more than 1,100 Kinko's stores nationwide.

At an event in Dallas, the companies said nearly 170 Kinko's stores would have a T-Mobile Wi-Fi hot spot by the end of October, and 1,100 stores would be equipped by April 2004. The companies originally announced their deal in April.

Hot spots provide wireless network access to individuals with devices that have Wi-Fi gear installed. The Wi-Fi networks are often connected to a broadband Internet connection, making it easy to share the high-bandwidth pipe.

The first wave of Kinko's installations will be in North Texas, Northern and Central California, New Jersey and New York. Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C., will be among the regions that the companies will focus on by the beginning of next year.

Locating local internet providers

Going after large chain stores as hot-spot partners has helped Bellevue, Wash.-based T-Mobile quickly build up the number of locations where its service can be used. T-Mobile currently leads rivals in terms of the number of commercial hot spots it's installed. By April of next year, including the Kinko's deal, the mobile-telecommunications subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG expects to have more than 4,000 locations using its Wi-Fi service.

The downside for T-Mobile has been the T1 connections used in those locations, which analysts say are costing the company because there isn't yet enough traffic to use up the bandwidth and help to defer service costs. T-Mobile has said that because of its bulk, it has received terms which make having T1 connections financially cost effective and that they are laying the groundwork for future expected demand.

Locating local internet providers

"Our internal research shows that 88 percent of T-Mobile HotSpot usage is for business purposes, and our partnership with Kinko's is yet another example that T-Mobile is the clear choice for businesspeople," Joe Sims, vice president and general manager of T-Mobile HotSpot, said in a release.

T-Mobile's largest partnership with a chain store is with coffeehouse Starbucks, which has 2,300 hot spots installed in its stores, with 400 to be added by the end of this year. T-Mobile also has a deal with bookstore chain Borders, which has 320 hot spots installed now, with another 100 to become available before the start of the holiday shopping season.

Rates for T-Mobile's Wi-Fi service cost $10 per day, or $30 per month. Existing T-Mobile wireless voice and data customers can add hot-spot service for $20 a month.