AT&T has what I call a happy problem; too much traffic on its 3G network.

That's happy as in for AT&T, not so for their customers who suffer through dropped calls and out of service time (see my blog posting earlier this month, "Smartphones and Dumb Carriers".

AT&T by its own admission can't scale up its 3G network fast enough. A big part of the problem is dealing with so many local bureaucrats and each municipal fiefdom's own unique maze to get approval to add equipment in public areas.

While all this hashes out, one make-do solution appears to be all those AT&T hotspots. There are now more than 20,000 of them in the United States.

On AT&T's end, WiFi through a hotspot is much easier and cheaper

Customers seem to be catching on, as well. AT&T's own 3rd quarter report on hotspot usage shows there were more than 25 million WiFI sessions at AT&T hotspots. That's up from 15 million sessions in just the previous quarter of this year.

In other news:

Microsoft announced this week that it will retire MSN Direct on January 1st, 2012. Question: does this have anything to do with Mayan prophecy?

Oh, sorry, you have some real questions about this? Chances are you will find answers in the following FAQ at the MSN Direct site.