Marriott to add Wi-Fi in 400 hotels

Marriott International Inc. is planning one of the hotel sector’s largest deployments of high-speed wireless Internet access, the company said Wednesday in a statement.

Marriott aims to provide WLAN (wireless LAN) access at 400 hotels in Germany, the U.K. and the U.S., the company said. It will collaborate with wireless service provider STSN Inc. to offer the service in hotel lobbies, meeting rooms, restaurants and other public spaces, complementing its current in-room high-speed access.

STSN specializes in providing WLAN services to hotels. Marriott has a stake in the Salt Lake City service provider, as does the Intel Communication Fund, which has increased its investment in the operator, STSN said Wednesday in a statement.

STSN will deliver dual band 802.11a and 802.11b wireless access in the hotels, the company said. It expects to complete the deployment by June 2003.

Pricing for the new service is currently under review, Marriott said.

Marriott is just one of many large hotel chains jumping on the WLAN bandwagon to generate additional revenue.

German hotel chain Maritim Hotelgesellschaft mbH, in Frankfurt, has forged a partnership with T-Mobile Deutschland GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG, to provide coverage in its hotels in Bonn, Frankfurt am Main, Hanover, Cologne, Munich and Stuttgart early next year, T-Mobile said Tuesday in a statement.

For the service, T-Mobile will charge 7.95 euros (CDN$13) for one hour, 15.95 euros for three hours and 24.95 euros for 24 hours. Customers can have the fee put on their T-Mobile invoice or can pay by credit card.

The deal is in line with T-Mobile’s strategy to craft WLAN deals with large chains as opposed to individual businesses. “It’s nice to talk with a big hotel but it’s better to talk with big hotel chains,” said Carsten Otto, manager of data services at T-Mobile.

T-Mobile is one of the largest providers of WLAN service in the U.S., where it is rolling out service in some 1,200 coffee houses of Starbucks Coffee Co. across the country.

T-Mobile also plans to add high-speed wireless Internet connectivity in about 100 U.S. airport clubs and lounges over the next year through an agreement with Delta Air Lines Inc., United Air Lines Inc. and AMR Corp.’s American Airlines.