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Summary:

Not everyone buying an iPad is purchasing the 3G model. Boingo Wireless today started offering a new pay-per-use Wi-Fi service for iPads, iPhones and iPod touches that’s even cheaper than AT&T’s Wi-Fi On the Spot offering. It uses iTunes for the transaction, making buying credits easy.

Boingo today launched a new app to help get Apple iPads online without any ties to AT&T. Boingo’s Wi-Fi Credits software — which also supports iPhones and iPod touch devices — offers wireless access for $1.99 per hour. The new software is available today in the iTunes App Store and leverages a user’s iTunes account for payment.

Unlike the Boingo monthly subscriptions plans — I pay for and use the $9.99 monthly service on a regular basis — Boingo Wi-Fi Credits appeals to the casual web surfer. Consumers simply purchase one or more credits as needed. Each credit purchased is good for 60 consecutive minutes of wireless access, and unused credits are banked for up to a year.

The first credit is free upon installing the Boingo Wi-Fi Credits application, and Boingo adds one free credit with a block purchase of 10. Customers can use the Wi-Fi at any of Boingo’s 30,000 U.S. locations or 125,000 worldwide hotspots, although the software is only available in the U.S. for now. Boingo’s service is typically found at major airports and chains like Starbucks. Boingo says other countries will see the software in the near future. The application also provides a mapping service, making it easy to find hotspots in the Boingo network.

At first, I thought Boingo’s new product would have less appeal to those with a Wi-Fi + 3G iPad model as AT&T is offering free Wi-Fi with the iPad’s “magical and revolutionary” 3G monthly service. But what if you decide not to use 3G on your iPad for a month? You’ll have to rely on free hotspots, or leverage AT&T’s Wi-Fi On the Spot product — it, too, offers pay-per-use Wi-Fi, but costs $3.99-$7.99 per session. For $1.99 an hour, Boingo’s solution offers a cost-effective alternative. If you have an iPhone on AT&T’s network, you’re already paying for a 3G connection and receive free Wi-Fi at AT&T hotposts, but iPod touch users stand to gain here as well.

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Hot Topic: Apple’s iPad

By Kevin C. Tofel

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  1. [...] for iPad owners. Boingo is the provider that has access to over 125,000 hotspots world-wide, and they have launched a new app that allows iPad owners to purchase hourly access through an existing iTunes [...]

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  2. [...] Per-use WiFi for iPad. [...]

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  3. AT&T on the go wifi is included if you have an iphone AT&T contract.

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    1. Correct and AT&T Wi-Fi is included with the iPad’s 3G monthly plan options as well. But the iPad isn’t a phone, so for folks that don’t have an iPhone or want to pay for 3G, this offers an option.

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  4. $1.99 Pay-Per-Use or Per Hour? Confusing.

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    1. $1.99 buys you one credit, which is good for 60 consecutive minutes.

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  5. Way, way to expensive. I’ll never use them

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  6. I’ve never really understood the appeal of pay-wireless services. There’s enough free wireless most places I’ve never even been tempted.

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  7. [...] C. Tofel / GigaOM:Boingo Brings $1.99 Pay-Per-Use Wi-Fi to Apple’s iPad  —  Boingo today launched a new app to help get Apple iPads online without any ties [...]

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  8. [...] Boingo Brings $1.99 Pay-Per-Use Wi-Fi to Apple's iPad [...]

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