AT&T Launches Wi-Fi Hotspots in Manhattan to Buoy Crappy 3G Coverage

AT&T has offered free Wi-Fi in Times Square to its customers since May as part of a pilot program to test ways of shoring up its cell coverage in areas with heavy use.

The pilot was apparently successful, because AT&T has expanded the area of Wi-Fi coverage in Times Square and is adding more by Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Those hot spots for AT&T customers will be coming in the next few days, according to a press release posted by Engadget, in time for New Year’s Eve.

The expanded hot spots will add data network capacity in high traffic areas. AT&T customers with qualifying data plans get unlimited access to AT&T hot spots at no additional cost.

The quality of voice calls and coverage on AT&T has vastly improved over the last year in Manhattan, as have 3G download speeds.

In January, AT&T acknowledged its Manhattan network was subpar. But now, with the help of Luke Wilson, it’s back to bravado.

“AT&T today delivers the nation’s fastest mobile broadband experience nationwide as well as the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network, giving customers the best combination of speed and coverage,” the press release says. We’ll know when eight million people try to tweet on New Year’s, won’t we?

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