Swisscom buys Megabeam

Swisscom Eurospot, to be formed from the purchases of Megabeam and WLAN AG, will spread wireless hot spots across Europe
Written by Tony Hallett, Contributor

Wi-Fi hot spot company Megabeam has been acquired by Swisscom. Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed but the telco has also bought German public wireless LAN provider WLAN AG to gain a wider pan-European footprint.

A new organisation called Swisscom Eurospot -- dealing with end users, resellers and location partners in 12 European countries -- will be set up on the back of the deals.

The race to provide broadband wireless Internet access at specific locations such as airports, hotels, train stations and coffee shops is now on. Megabeam is a major European provider of such access, using the 802.11b standard commonly known as Wi-Fi. It competes with BT Openzone and other operators, including a UK network launched yesterday to be known as The Cloud.

Megabeam said Friday's sale will benefit customers, resellers and the company's financial backers, including Remote Reward, implying the purchase price exceeds the sums sunk into the venture to date.

Swisscom Eurospot will come into existence with over 800 hot spots. There are already several thousand hot spots across the US and numbers are expected to grow rapidly in Europe.

Worldwide specialist providers and other service providers -- including traditional telcos and mobile operators such as T-Mobile and Vodafone -- are competing with free services from 'freedom fighter' providers or even companies unwittingly allowing users to use their networks.

Click here to see a map of the UK's Wi-Fi hot spots.

Discover the latest developments in Wi-Fi, 3G, GPRS and other cutting-edge wireless technologies at ZDNet UK's Wireless News Section.

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