Starbucks rolls out free wifi this Spring

Starbucks customers will get 2 hours of free Wi-fi daily beginning this Spring. All’s you need is a Starbucks card! Finally, a perk for those who have a Starbucks card, like me. And for T-mobile hotspot subscribers, a roaming arrangement will be made with AT&T so that subscription will still work at Starbucks.

From the official announcement at Starbucks.com:

In addition to the free Wi-Fi access for qualifying AT&T customers and any Starbucks Card holder, customers will be able to purchase tiered access to the AT&T Wi-Fi network at Starbucks at attractive price points. For a two-hour period, customers will pay just $3.99 per session. Monthly membership will also be available for $19.99 per month, and will include access to any of AT&T’s 70,000 hot spots in 89 countries around the world.

NYT Bits blog Cheaper Wi-Fi Access at Starbucks and Beyond comments on this switch:

… as many as 60 hours of access for the price of one $2 cup of coffee. The offer comes as Starbucks switches the company providing it with wireless service to AT&T from T-Mobile. Most of AT&T’s broadband data customers will also have unlmited free access to Wi-Fi at 7,000 Starbucks. They have already been able to use AT&T’s other 10,000 hotspots free.

And NYT carries the AP article, AT&T Joins Starbucks to Provide Store Wi-Fi. Wired’s title is more provocative: Starbucks Ditches T-Mobile and Brings in AT&T as Exclusive Wi-Fi Provider. Plus, AT&T’s version of the announcement.

[update] when free Wifi will actually roll out to a Starbucks near you:

T-Mobile will transition network operations to AT&T on a market by market basis starting this spring and ending in early 2009. … T-Mobile HotSpot customers can continue to enjoy Wi-Fi access at Starbucks locations for at least the next five years under an agreement between T-Mobile USA and AT&T.

AT&T says that, beginning this spring, anyone who uses a Starbucks Card (a prepaid gift card, like one you would give to a friend) will be able to get up to two hours of free WiFi service per day at any Starbucks location with WiFi service. Better yet, if you’re an AT&T broadband or U-verse subscriber, you’ll be able to use unlimited WiFi at Starbucks for free. For everyone else, paid service will begin at $3.99 per two-hour session, and monthly membership will go for $19.99 per month.

[update 6/1/08] I’m noticing Starbucks with wifi signals on both SSID’s tmobile and attwifi. Each have different login, but seems to work equally well. I’ve been able to login to attwifi in Laguna Hills/ Aliso Viejo, CA, as well as Dallas, TX. For AT&T DSL Pro or Elite customers (like I am), you get attwifi login included free with your DSL plan. To login, “Use your primary High Speed Internet, DSL or AT&T U-verse username and password on the hotspot’s webpage.” I did have problem getting my DSL login credential to work with the attwifi hotspot. It took 4 tech support calls to find someone who knew how to sync it up and fix it.

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6 Responses

  1. William Woo says:

    Whoa, that seems like a very interesting move. Are sales down?

    I recently heard in a sermon a few weeks ago a thinly veiled reference to Joel Olsteen (and the state of America’s pulpits). “If YOUR BEST LIFE is NOW, then we are in trouble.” (Emir Caner at the Texas Southern Baptist Evangelism Conference 2/4/08).

    Keep on Blogging,
    William

  2. After reading that for the third time…..thats hardly “free”
    It seems like you still need to be an AT & T customer.

    Anyone know what this means in practice or experienced this “free” wi-fi yet? When do the individual locations get it?

  3. djchuang says:

    Well, it’s not free in the absolute sense, since you do have to purchase a cup of coffee. From what I gather, you don’t have to be an AT&T customer, but you do have to have a Starbucks card (free).

    San Antonio was the first to get AT&T wifi at Starbucks http://twurl.nl/5b3wzk and more rollout on a “market by market” basis started May 1st, 2008 http://twurl.nl/caxvvy . And, word on the (blogosphere) street is that iPhone users will get free AT&T wifi access everywhere http://twurl.nl/1vgyvh

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