AT&T sends email to customers that Cometa relationship has ended, unclear what else is afoot: Email ostensibly from AT&T to its customers actually reads like it's from Cometa noting the end of their relationship with AT&T. The email says that AT&T Wi-Fi Service will no longer be offered as of yesterday. Its service is entirely driven by Cometa presently; a different part of AT&T operates service through NetNearU and Concourse Communications at the Newark airport. AT&T's Wi-Fi page is still showing Cometa locations, all McDonald's in the New York tri-state area and a variety of Washington state outlets.
Don't confuse AT&T's offering with AT&T Wireless's offering as I initially did on reading the email; AT&T Wireless is also listed as a Cometa partner, but they're a separately owned firm that is in the process of being merged into Cingular. AT&T Wireless will even drop their AT&T name. In AT&T Wireless's hotspot service directory Cometa locations aren't listed, however, only Wayport locations that they resell and their own Denver airport service. In an email exchange, an AT&T wireless spokesperson ignored requests to clarify why Cometa locations were not listed, although he reaffirmed that AT&T Wireless and Cometa's relationship has remains intact.
The announcement says that new options for wireless Internet access will be available starting in March, including daily options, but it doesn't define those as Wi-Fi. Will AT&T have no Wi-Fi in their future? The core AT&T doesn't seem to have interests in data networking outside of the enterprise, that I'm aware of.
Apparently you can receive two free weeks of Wi-Fi on Cometa's network by sending email to 2FreeWeeks@cometanetworks.com with "2 FREE WEEKS" in the subject line and your return email address in the body of the message. Send this email by March 5, 2004. You are then sent a username and password for free service through March 19 on Cometa's limited network. The email doesn't note that you have to be a current AT&T subscriber to get the free two weeks of use.
AT&T itself is one of three major investors in Cometa, with IBM and Intel.
This announcement may not signify anything of importance for Cometa, which has failed to produce an announcement of any scale since last fall. AT&T was the company that they pointed to as Cometa's major national partner for reselling access (in New York at McDonald's and in Seattle at 250 locations -- although those Seattle locations aren't listed at AT&T's site), but AT&T was hardly a Wi-Fi reseller.