Dell Computer and networking company Wayport Inc. have unveiled a cross-marketing agreement to promote the use of Wayport's wireless Internet access service on Dell portables. Under the agreement, Dell will promote the Wayport service on its Web site and through other avenues, in return for special Wayport rates and offers for users of Dell notebooks.
Wayport provides wireless access at a handful of airports, including Dallas/Fort Worth and Seattle-Tacoma, and at Four Seasons and Wyndham hotels. "If you have a client adapter--a little card that goes in your laptop--you can access the network at LAN speed," says Greg Latson, a Wayport marketing manager. The adapters are manufactured and sold by third-party companies, he says, and users can connect to the service through standard Windows utilities. "There's really no software, that's one of the cool things," Latson says. Wayport profits by selling the service to institutions and blocks of usage time directly to consumers.
Latson says the agreement with Dell will help his company reach more customers, and the Wayport service will in turn help promote Dell's notebooks by making them more attractive to business travelers. "It's a value-add," he says.
"There has always been talk of wireless vendors integrating with notebook makers," says Yankee Group analyst Sarah Kim. She says the marketing agreement isn't anything revolutionary, but it certainly is a good idea for both companies. "It's just another great distribution channel."