February 28, 2008
Starbucks announced that they are partnering with AT&T to supply Wifi access to Starbuck’s 7000 stores nationwide. Starbucks had previously partnered with T-Mobile to provide pay-Wifi access in their stores. AT&T’s new service offers free access to specific customers:
Beginning this spring, Starbucks Card holders can enjoy up to two hours of free Wi-Fi service per day at Starbucks locations offering Wi-Fi access, while more than 12 million qualifying AT&T broadband and AT&T U-verseSM Internet customers will have unlimited free access to the Wi-Fi service. In addition, more than 5 million of AT&T’s remote access services business customers will be able to access Wi-Fi service at Starbucks locations. AT&T will soon extend the benefits of Wi-Fi at Starbucks to its wireless customers.
Outside of these situations, AT&T’s Wifi service costs $3.99 for a two-hour session, or $19.99 for monthly access. Existing T-Mobile HotSpot customers should be unaffected. T-Mobile customers will continue to get free Wifi access at Starbucks due to an agreement between AT&T and T-Mobile.
Of interest, AT&T states that it “will soon extend the benefits of Wi-Fi at Starbucks to its wireless customers”, suggesting that iPhone users will also get Wifi access in the future. AT&T currently provides exclusive wireless service for the Apple iPhone.