Verizon's limited, irritating Wi-Fi access for broadband subscribers now extends to mobile broadband customers, too: Old! Unimproved! But extended! Verizon's Windows-only, laptop/netbook-only free Wi-Fi access, enabled via a subset of Boingo Wireless's network, has been extended to its mobile broadband subscribers. That's laptop adapter/card 3G users--not smartphone users, who still don't get free Wi-Fi.
Not only do you have to use Windows 2000, XP, Vista, or 7, but you have to run Verizon's VZAccess Manager, and manually select a network when one is available. No manual login, no Mac OS X support, no shoes, no service.
I wrote about the limits of Verizon's deal back on 28 July 2009 in "Verizon Limits Free Wi-Fi to Laptops." Verizon is only offering access to "thousands" of hotspots nationwide.
This is in contrast to AT&T's deal, which now encompasses 27m subscribers to DSL, fiber, or business services, as well as all the laptop 3G users, and all iPhone, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile smartphones with Wi-Fi built in. Smartphone subscribers can only use the free service from the smartphone, which is an automatic connection on the iPhone and some other models. Non-smartphone subscribers can log in with a user name and password from any device; no special software required. And AT&T gives access to its 20,000-strong hotspot network. (That's less of an issue come January when the 11,000 McDonald's stores in that network go free.)