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Hyatt, T-Mobile strike deal on WiFi Web access

/ Source: The Associated Press

High-speed wireless Internet access is coming to nearly all of Hyatt Corp.’s 200-plus hotels and resorts by 2005, under a deal announced Thursday by Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and T-Mobile USA Inc.

The technology, known as WiFi, short for wireless fidelity, lets computer users within a few hundred feet share a high-speed Internet connection. Since being introduced in the late 1990s, the technology has caught on in coffee shops, college campuses and airports.

“This furthers Hyatt’s position as a premium, global brand and industry leader,” said Tom O’Toole, senior vice president of strategy and systems for Hyatt.

WiFi will be available in the lobby and select guest rooms at most Hyatt hotels by the end of 2004, officials for the Chicago-based hotel company said.

Hyatt’s wireless access won’t be free. Guests can expect to pay $9.99 a day — unless they’re already subscribers to T-Mobile’s WiFi service, in which case there will be no extra charge. Those who only subscribe to the company’s cellphone service will also have to pay extra.

Businesses across the country have added WiFi capabilities in an effort to attract customers.

McDonald’s Corp. has been testing WiFi at about 300 restaurants in the San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and New York areas. The company hopes to outfit 6,000 restaurants — nearly half its U.S. locations — by the end of the year.

Pacific Bell Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, is one of the world’s largest public WiFi “hot spots.”