AT&T Unveiling Public Wi-Fi in SF, NYC

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In an effort to improve phone service, AT&T is rolling out new public wi-fi hot spots for their customers in popular areas in San Francisco and New York City. Subscribers will be able to access the service in San Francisco’s Embarcadero  area near Rincon Park later this year, according to the press release. For those in NYC, the Times Square zone which was launched in May 2010 is expanding and will be joined by spots near Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the coming days. Last year, the company created Wi-Fi hot zones in New York City’s Times Square, downtown Charlotte, N.C., and Chicago’s Wrigleyville and claim that more than 350,000 connections were made in the three spots.

If successful, there are plans to expand to sports arenas and other areas where large groups of people frequent. Public wi-fi will decrease the dependence on the 3G network, which can be especially slow and unreliable in populated areas, according to Electronista. Especially with Verizon entering the iPhone game, AT&T is concerned that customers may move to another service provider that may be more reliable. The service provider intends to improve 3G service and does not consider Wi-Fi to be a solution to the congested network service.

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