AT&T and Starbucks today announced plans to deliver AT&T Wi-Fi service at more than 7,000 company-operated Starbucks locations across the United States. Starbucks and AT&T will offer a mix of free and paid Wi-Fi at Starbucks stores.
The initiative further expands AT&T’s WiFi partnership with McDonalds and others. AT&T’s Wi-Fi network, is said to be the largest in the United States, with more than 17,000 U.S. hot spots and more than 70,000 globally.
Starbucks is linking the new AT&T Wi-Fi service to its purchase card, which tens of millions of people use to buy their mochas and lattes. 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.
T-Mobile also has a partnership with Starbucks, of course. Until now. Apparently the new AT&T deal supersedes the T-Mobile/Starbucks WiFi plan. But not to worry. Starbucks says T-Mobile HotSpot customers will be able to continue to access Wi-Fi services at no additional cost:
“In recognition of the many T-Mobile customers who enjoy visiting Starbucks, the Company is also announcing that T-Mobile HotSpot customers will be able to continue to access Wi-Fi services at no additional cost, through an agreement between AT&T and T-Mobile”.
T-Mobile’s HotSpot locations also include Borders Books and Music stores, FedEx Kinko’s Print Centers, numerous hotels and resorts and several airports. T-Mobile says there are 8,891 T-Mobile HotSpot locations in the U.S. with 844 additional U.S. roaming locations and thousands of locations worldwide.
Beginning this spring, Starbucks Card holders can get two hours of free Wi-Fi service per day, while more than 12 million qualifying AT&T broadband and AT&T U-verse Internet customers will have unlimited free access to the Wi-Fi service.
“This is what our customers have been waiting for — free Starbucks-quality Wi-Fi,” said Chris Bruzzo, chief technology officer, Starbucks Coffee Company. “Through our new partnership with AT&T, we also welcome their millions of current customers who can now come in and enjoy free Wi-Fi as part of their daily Starbucks Experience.”
Customers will be able to purchase tiered WiFi access. 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.
Additionally, AT&T is providing Starbucks an enterprise-class network with increased bandwidth and redundancy. AT&T’s underlying network technologies will enable a wide range of business applications and help Starbucks stores operate more efficiently.
The availability of AT&T Wi-Fi service at Starbucks will take place on a market-by-market basis with store implementation beginning this spring and completed by the end of the year.
Wayport has been the managed service provider for AT&T’s Wi-Fi network since 2003.
Santa Monica-based Boingo, started by EarthLink founder Sky Dayton, also provides Wi-Fi access to computer users and Internet service providers. Boingo announced a version of its Boingo Mobile client for Sony Ericsson’s smart phones with an iPhone client out soon.
Boingo’s system uses a proprietary software client to connect subscribers to more than 100,000 for-pay Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide. The “Boingo Mobile” plan costs only $7.95 per month, as long as you’re using it on a handheld and not a laptop. Currently, the company has clients for many Nokia devices and Windows Mobile 5.
Boingo claims to be the world’s largest network of Wi-Fi hotspots with some 100,000 access points, and currently has roaming agreements with AT&T. Access to the North American Boingo network typically costs $21.95 per month. Boingo pays hotspot operator partners a wholesale fee, typically between $1.00 and $2.00 per connect day (up to 24 hours for one user in one location). Boingo provides its carrier & ISP partners with marketing, customer support, and billing costs.
Glenn Fleishman from WiFiNetNews said; Free Wi-Fi from Starbucks? Ha! Ain’t. Gunna. Happen. Maybe he doesn’t have a Starbucks card.