A Coffee and Some Free Internet

 
 
By Roy Mark  |  Posted 2008-02-11
 
 
 

After a six-year run with T-Mobile providing Wi-Fi access to its 7,000 coffee shops, Starbucks said Feb. 11 that AT&T will be its new carrier for wireless service. The ubiquitous chain is also brewing up a new deal for Wi-Fi customers: up to two hours of free Wi-Fi service per day.

In addition, all Starbucks partners will receive free Wi-Fi accounts allowing them to use the network in Starbucks company-operated locations. AT&T said more than 12 million qualifying AT&T broadband and AT&T U-verse Internet customers will have unlimited free access to Starbuck's Wi-Fi service.

"This is what our customers have been waiting for-free Starbucks-quality Wi-Fi," Starbucks Chief Technology Officer Chris Bruzzo said in a statement.

To read about free Wi-Fi in San Francisco, click here.

For Starbucks customers who exceed the daily two-hour free limit, a tiered access program is available. For another two hours, customers will be charged $3.99. A monthly membership will also be available for $19.99 a month that also includes access to any of AT&T's 70,000 hot spots around the world.

For AT&T, the deal with Starbucks expands the nation's largest Wi-Fi network to more than 17,000 U.S. hot spots and more than 70,000 globally.

The rollout of the new Wi-Fi service at Starbucks will take place this spring on a market-by-market basis and will be completed by the end of the year. AT&T is also providing Starbucks an enterprise-class network with increased bandwidth and redundancy.

T-Mobile did not return a request for comment. 

Rocket Fuel