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Alltel makes move with WiFi acquisition

Okay, so we were a bit critical of Alltel’s deal with Boingo, which provided the cell carrier with WiFi services. If they don’t have WiFi phones, we asked, why would they do this? Well, they answered us today. They’re now bundling their WiFi and EV-DO internet services to provide more complete broadband coverage to their subscribers. Not through their phones, though, but through their laptops. And what is a laptop if not an enormous smart phone? (Just kidding.)

They say that you can get the WiFi access for as low as $9.99 per month in addition to your already existing wireless Internet plan. Without an Internet plan, you can get the WiFi access for $21.99 per month. If you’re not seeking a subscription, prepaid WiFi cards are available for $9.99 per day and $19.99 per week. That, our friends, is a huge rip-off.

“Wi-Fi is an excellent complement to Alltel’s existing portfolio of wireless internet solutions and is a good fit with Alltel’s strategy to provide customers with more ways to connect wirelessly to the Internet, email, or corporate intranet,” said David Maddox, director of product marketing for Alltel Wireless. “Alltel customers will get the best available wireless broadband connection throughout the country with EVDO and Wi-Fi from Alltel.”

It makes sense, we suppose, to offer this upgraded service to Alltel subscribers. They say there are “thousands” of hotspots nationwide, so many business users can take advantage of them. The only advantage, though, over their EV-DO is speed. We dunno…it seems more frugal to sacrifice the speed you’ll sometimes get with WiFi and just go with the EV-DO.

[Broadband Wireless Exchange Magazine]