AT&T Expanding Wi-Fi Hotspot Zones to Charlotte and Chicago

AT&T today announced the launch of a new hotspot zone located in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, providing an extra layer of coverage enabling higher data speeds while moving traffic off of the carrier's cellular network.

The large outdoor Wi-Fi hotzone provides coverage along South Brevard Street from the area around the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza to East Trade Street, and for AT&T customers waiting to use the nearby Lynx light rail.

The Charlotte, N.C., AT&T Wi-Fi hotzone is the second to be deployed as part of a pilot project to explore using Wi-Fi to supplement AT&T's mobile broadband coverage in areas with consistently high 3G traffic and mobile data use.

The company launched its first "hotzone" in New York City's Times Square in late May and announced today that will also be deploying one in Chicago "in the coming weeks".

In the most recent quarter, AT&T claimed 68.1 million Wi-Fi connections on its network, up more than fourfold over the 15 million connections seen in the same quarter in 2009.