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AT&T Bolsters Wi-Fi Plans With Wayport Acquisition

AT&T said Friday that it has closed its Wayport acquisition, which allows it to build out its Wi-Fi network. In addition, the telecom giant said that it "is nearing completion" of its project to convert Starbucks locations to AT&T's Wi-Fi service.

With Wayport, AT&T will have roughly 20,000 domestic hot-spots (statement). AT&T said last month it would acquire Wayport for $275 million. The Starbucks deal, announced in February, is focused on the coffee chain's 7,000 company owned stores.

For AT&T, the Wi-Fi buildout can land enterprise dealsâ€"like the network buildout it is doing for Starbucks. And more importantly Wi-Fi can fill gaps in AT&T's network coverage since devices like the iPhone and BlackBerry Bold are also Wi-Fi enabled.

In a statement, Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, said:

"We see Wi-Fi as a strategic opportunity for AT&T. We plan to build on our leadership as the largest Wi-Fi provider -- bringing more connectivity to more consumers -- and working closely with our enterprise customers to enhance and personalize their customer communications and improve the efficiency of their operations."

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and Editorial Director of ZDNet sister site TechRepublic. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations. This post first appeard on ZDNet's Between the Lines blog.