The charges and payment structure in this section are based on information published by each network or on conversations I have had with Wi-Fi network company representatives. As I've noted before, they are certainly subject to change, so you should verify current pricing for yourself. I've tried to include some tips and ideas for getting the most out of each Wi-Fi network.
Cingular Wi-Fi service, called Laptop Connect, offers a number of different Wi-Fi service plans, as shown in Table 10.2.
Cingular Wireless has a substantial presence in Amtrak train stations, airports, andvia its roaming arrangements with Wayport and Stayonlinemore than 500 hotels.
Boingo Wireless has two kinds of payment plans available as shown in Table 10.3.
Boingo Wireless has more than 3,500 locations, including 112 hotspots at airports, 1,175 hotspots at restaurants and coffee shops, 1,429 hotspots at hotels, and 19 hotspots at convention centers. In addition, Boingo has extensive roaming arrangements with Wayport, Surf and Sip, and many smaller networks. If you download Boingo's special software, you can use roaming networks seamlessly. (You won't even know that you are roaming).
Otherwise, if you connect normally to a hotspot, you can enter your Boingo user ID and password to log on to the "foreign" network. The ability to effectively roam on other networks greatly extends Boingo's Wi-Fi network.
In some cases, you can save money by using Boingo for access and then roaming on a foreign (and nominally more costly) Wi-Fi network.
Sprint PCS offers Wi-Fi access on a daily basis or as part of its business data plans as shown in Table 10.4. The Sprint business data plans shown in Table 10.4 are primarily intended for business customers. Costs are based on the amount of data transferred between your mobile computer and the Wi-Fi network.
Sprint PCS has no Wi-Fi roaming arrangements available, but is rapidly rolling out hotspots across its network, particularly in airports and hotels.
T-Mobile Hotspot is the leading provider of Wi-Fi hotspot services and perhaps the old-line telecommunications company that has successfully created a true national Wi-Fi network. (T-Mobile is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom).
This effort is spearheaded, of course, by the presence of T-Mobile Wi-Fi access points in Starbucks shops. There are also T-Mobile Hotspots in most Borders bookstores and in many airports and hotels.
Table 10.5 shows the T-Mobile Hotspot pricing plans.
T-Mobile offers no roaming facilities on other networks.
Wayport is a Wi-Fi pioneer, with massive presences particularly in hotels and airports.
The Wayport pricing plans are shown in Table 10.6. (Because Wayport allows vendors who put up one of their hotspots to markup their single-use fees, you should verify costs.)
Wayport does not offer roaming on other networks to its customers.