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The latest quarterly report from Wi-Fi hotspot advertising network JiWire claims that the McDonald’s plan to offer free Wi-Fi in many of its restaurants this year will increase the number of available free hotspots in America by a head-turning 15 percent.

The count is expected to tip the scales away from paid hotspots, too, by making an estimated 52 percent of hotspots free ones. JiWire says the total number of public hotspots grew by 21.9 percent in 2009. McDonald’s alone will add a similar number in 2010, in addition to whatever new hotspots are added by other providers.

The rest of the report, available Wednesday on JiWire’s website, offers useful stats but no shockers. Lots of people use Wi-Fi, 90 percent of them shop online, and a lot of them are on iPhones. News, search and social networks are the top Wi-Fi activities.

JiWire’s senior vice president of marketing, David Staas, added in a press release scheduled for Wednesday that “over 890 million new Internet enabled wireless devices are expected to ship this year … changing the nature of advertising.”


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