Can you say "wireless mesh backhaul"?: T-Mobile's venture arm has invested $2 million in BelAir, but does this signal an interest in deploying BelAir's equipment to provide wireless mesh backhaul for the 4,200 hotspots in the T-Mobile HotSpot network? According to many sources over the last few years, MobileStar and then T-Mobile committee to a T-1 infrastructure for Starbucks, paying all the costs. Switching to wireless backhaul has the potential to dramatically reduce recurring costs if there are enough Starbucks stores reachable by point-to-point signals.
In related news, T-Mobile adds another logo to their hotspot model. The network is now officially Cisco Powered, as opposed to before when it was just Cisco "powered." There's a co-marketing benefit from this, but no practical change. It's more of a boon for Cisco which can try out Wi-Fi authentication experiments in the real world.