AT&T Installs Huge Wi-Fi HotSpot In NYC To Meet 3G Demand

AT&T has it bad. They can't borrow bandwidth from Sprint or Verizon (GSM isn't compatible with CDMA), and they have the biggest bandwidth-sucking smartphone ever on their network, and their network alone. They consistently get panned for not doing enough to keep iPhone owners happen, and yet they're spending billions in infrastructure upgrades. They just can't win. And if they soon lose the iPhone's exclusivity to Verizon, it'll be just another blow.

Reports have been published lately detailing AT&T's trouble in getting more equipment shipped over from China. They simply cannot get expansion equipment built fast enough to install and appease the consumers. It has been an ongoing issue, and even the most liberal estimates in 2006 couldn't have anticipated the extreme increase in mobile data demand that would occur with the iPhone family launching soon after. In order to deal with all this demand, AT&T has had to get creative. Last year, a device known as the 3G MicroCell was launched, and now it's available nationwide. These basically plug into Internet routers and create in-home cell towers to improve reception and route calls through the Internet rather than through AT&T towers. This obviously helps reduce the strain on the network, making it better for everyone else.

Now, the carrier is doing something similar in New York City, a place where AT&T coverage is notoriously spotty. Many people in NYC say that calls are dropped regularly, and having access to mobile data is always hit or miss. To combat the issues, AT&T is creating one huge Wi-Fi HotSpot in the middle of Times Square, a vastly popular tourist region where thousands of images and videos are uploaded weekly from vacationers who are eager to show off their surroundings to loved ones back home. This new "hotzone" will allow any AT&T customer to access the Wi-Fi network for free, which will reduce the strain on the NYC 3G network. It's a great plan, and a simple one, and it's one that we hope is spread around as time goes by.

If every major metro city had city-wide Wi-Fi, we imagine the 3G issues would be far less. C'mon operators, let's make it happen.