It is hard to ignore those “best” and “worst” lists this time of the year, and recently Business Traveler magazine announced its 2009 Best in Business Travel Awards, and found that AT&T had the “Best Mobile Phone Coverage in the World.”
Not only that, but the magazine gave the honors to the new Ma Bell’s mobile division for the third year in row among U.S. wiresless providers. AT&T, of course, gets a leg up as it operates a GSM/HSPA network – the standard in other parts of the world. It was noted that AT&T reportedly has the largest global footprint of any wireless provider, and this includes service in more than 215 countries and the ability to send and receive e-mail, and browse the Web in more than 185 nations. Additionally, there are now more nations that offer 3G support, and AT&T has noted that it now offers coverage on 130 major cruise ships, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Celebrity Cruise Lines. So congratulations to AT&T for the award.
4G Arrives in Norway and Sweden
Will 2010 be the year of 4G? Not according to the Scandinavians, as the first 4G/LTE network is already in place! According to TechCrunch, TeliaSonera launched the first 4G network in Stockholm and Oslo, where users can get wireless download speeds of up to 100MB per second, and the carrier promises to extend this coverage to 25 markets throughout the New Year.
On the American front, we’re once again lagging behind, but with mobile that’s really nothing new. We’ve had our reliable landlines for so long that we’re simply not used to building new infrastructure. But fear not. The word is that the 4G/LTE service should arrive for Verizon next year and AT&T sometime in 2011. That’s not so long to wait, after all you’re probably used to waiting for mobile downloads at this point.
Of course maybe we shouldn’t be complaining. This week it was also announced that Russia’s three mobile carriers have finally gotten permission from the government to launch third-generation networks in Moscow, which is still a year after the services were launched in other parts of the country. The equipment was already installed, but outside of a few Moscow shopping malls, the city’s airport and some office buildings, most of the city was still relying on the older GSM coverage. It was reported that the carriers had to wait for approval for full coverage because the Ministry of Defense was using the 3G frequencies in the capital city.
Kayak Launches Free iPhone App
Already a popular app for the iPhone (available from the Apple App Store for $3.99), Kayak has launched a lite/free version. This includes a new 2D desktop-styled interface that makes looking for flight, hotel and rental car options a bit easier. It can also serve as an itinerary management app too. And the paid app, which includes options for business and first class fliers, have also been tweaked.
Kayak has also announced that it will add a booking assistant to its next update of the apps in 2010. Currently, the bookings are still handled directly by the airlines and hotel’s mobile pages instead of through Kayak. The travel site has also launched new versions of its apps for BlackBerry and Android handsets.
Check back every week for the latest from the world of mobile business travel.