Starbucks dumps T-Mobile, to offer free Wi-Fi with AT&T

“Starbucks Corp. is teaming up with AT&T Inc. and will start offering a mix of free and paid wireless Internet service in many of its U.S. coffee shops, beginning this spring,” Elizabeth M. Gillespie reports for The Associated Press.

“The world’s largest specialty coffee retailer’s move ends a six-year partnership T-Mobile, which did not include free Wi-Fi and charged more than the new AT&T service will cost,” Gillespie reports.

“Starbucks said Monday it will give customers that use its Starbucks purchase card two hours of free wireless access per day. After that, it will cost $3.99 for a two-hour session. Monthly memberships will cost $19.99 and include access to any of AT&T’s 70,000 hot spots worldwide,” Gillespie reports. “Nearly all of AT&T’s broadband Internet customers will automatically have unlimited free Wi-Fi access at Starbucks.”

“Chris Bruzzo, Starbucks’ chief technology officer, would not disclose how many customers use the T-Mobile service in Starbucks stores, but said he expects many more will use the new service. Starbucks will begin rolling it out this spring and aims to have it available in its more than 7,000 company-operated domestic stores by the end of the year,” Gillespie reports. “AT&T, the nation’s largest telecommunications company, has powered the network service Starbucks uses to run its cash registers and other computer systems for years.”

Gillespie reports, “Last month, AT&T announced plans to make its 10,000 Wi-Fi hotspots free to nearly all of its broadband Internet customers. The move expanded access to include subscribers who have a lower tier of high-speed Internet service, increasing to 12 million the number of broadband customers who can use the hotspots free of charge. Previously, only subscribers to AT&T’s premium broadband service had free access. Monday’s announcement boosts the number of AT&T hotspots in the U.S. to 17,000 — the most in the nation.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “ChicagoPhotoGuy” for the heads up.]

24 Comments

  1. Nowhere in the article did I see that iPhone users qualify for free access. It keeps mentioning “AT&T;’s broadband customers”, and even there, not all are elligible (“nearly all…”).

    I am assuming that iPhone customers WILL be included, since Starbucks already has a nice WiFi deal for iTunes browsing. Someone will have to clarify this, though.

  2. If you have AT&T;broadband at home you will be able to use these for free.

    I have tried it at one of my local McDonald’s and it worked. I did have to call AT&T;customer service for them to make it work, but it did work…

    However, just because you have an iPhone it does not necessarily mean that it will work…I would expect AT&T;to make this happen soon though.

    Hopefully…

  3. I walked in a B&N;cafe w/ my iPhone (seeing AT&T;WiFI hotspot on the door) and was shocked they wanted me to pay for access.

    People still do that?

    And WTF is B&N;not offering it free?

  4. from the article:

    “AT&T;also is giving Starbucks’ more than 100,000 U.S. employees free wireless accounts and said it will soon extend the Wi-Fi at Starbucks to its wireless phone customers. The company announced no details or time frame for the expansion.”

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