Hotspot usage speeds up

Hotspot usage in the region should get a boost with the launch of a roaming service from Kuwaiti firm SmartLink Telecom.

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By  Peter Branton Published  April 25, 2004

Hotspot usage in the region should get a boost with the launch of a roaming service from Kuwaiti firm SmartLink Telecom. The company is promoting its SmartSpot scheme, which is a wireless pre-paid access card. Customers can use the card to access the internet at hotspots powered by different internet service providers. The service is currently only available in Kuwait, but the company is looking at extending it to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan. “We wanted to create a service that worked for the Middle East user and mobility is key to that,” said Abdel Samara, deputy general manager for SmartLink Telecom. “We believe roaming is going to be very important for the Middle East user.” The company has signed up a number of partners in Kuwait. By purchasing a SmartSpot card, a customer can move from one hotspot location to another and, provided they are both signed up to the scheme, continue his work without having to set up a separate account with each service provider. “It’s very important for hotspot users, especially business users and travellers to have this sort of facility,” said Toni Prince, business development manager for Intel MENA. Business travellers who are getting work done while waiting in airports or grabbing a quick cup of coffee don’t want to have to keep buying access time, he pointed out. “You don’t want to be buying 60 minutes here and 60 minutes there, you want to be able to use your time effectively,” he claimed. While SmartLink is the first such scheme in the region that Intel is aware of, Prince said that Intel was encouraging as many internet service providers as possible to work together at this stage. “The next step is going to be extremely important,” he said.

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