T-Mobile buys Austrian Wi-Fi market

By Kieren McCarthy


T-Mobile, a division of Deutsche Telekom AG, – the world’s biggest Wi-Fi hotspot owner – has effectively taken over the Austrian wireless market with the purchase of Metronet for an undisclosed sum.

Metronet owns and runs 300 hotspots in Austria – the tenth most unwired country in the world apparently with 350 hotspots. T-Mobile has been working with Metronet for over a year and the purchase gives it a vital competitive edge in targeting the business community, as well as strengthening its Europe-wide network. Metronet also has roaming deals in Finland, Italy, Spain and Brazil – amounting to 1,200 hotspots in total.

T-Mobile spokeswoman Mag Bruck told us the company would be pulled into T-Mobile International by January and said there would not be many redundancies.

The deal sees T-Mobile increase its lead as the world’s leading hotspot provider, adding Metronet’s business to its 3,000-odd wireless points.

Metronet’s press release claimed it is the world’s fourth largest Wi-Fi supplier, however Metronet CEO Mike McGinn (who doesn’t yet know if he still has a job) admitted that the figure was based on data collected in May this year. Since that time there has been a huge increase in hotspots worldwide, notably in Britain.

We estimated that Metronet comes seventh in the world in terms of suppliers with Inspired Broadcast Networks (under the name The Cloud) offering 2,500 spots; Swisscom AG with 1,300; Telia AB with 1,200; Wayport Inc. with 675; and BT Group PLC with 400.

There are approximately 12,000 hotspots across the world although this figure is rapidly increasing.

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