McDonalds will soon start offering free wireless Internet access at its U.S. restaurants as part of the fast-food chain’s transformation from its hamburger roots into a hang-out destination, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Starting in mid-January, McDonald’s will lift a $2.95 fee that it had charged customers for two hours of wireless Internet access, available at about 11,000 of its 14,000 domestic locations, McDonald’s USA Chief Information Officer David Grooms said in an interview.
McDonald’s represents one of out six hot spots in the U.S., the company said, citing JiWire, a wi-fi ad delivery service. Partner AT&T provides McDonald’s stores with the wireless service.
Free Wi-Fi is now the norm.
- Barnes & Noble, the largest book chain in the United States, provides free WiFi for patrons, in a deal with AT&T. Barnes & Noble’s agreement with AT&T provides free Wi-Fi to all its customers because the company hopes to bring more customers into the store, and expand its current e-book catalog of 700,000 titles.
- Borders, the second-largest bookstore chain in the United States (after Barnes & Noble), will provide free wireless Internet access in about 500 of its U.S. stores.
- All U.S. company-operated Starbucks hot spots now support AT&T Wi-Fi service. A $5 or more Starbucks Card, will get you two consecutive hours of complimentary AT&T Wi-Fi daily.
- Verizon is partnering with Boingo to deliver free WiFi access. Free Verizon Wi-Fi hot spot locations include hotels, airports, restaurants, coffee shops, retailers, convention centers and public locations across the U.S. Boingo’s network of Wi-Fi hotspots – which includes more than 100,000 locations around the world – IF you’re a Verizon FiOS or DSL broadband subscriber.
- Qwest Communications began offering its high-speed Internet customers free unlimited WiFi at McDonald’s, Starbucks and Barnes and Noble bookstores.
- Google is providing free Wi-Fi at airports, now through January 15, 2010. It is working with airports across the country as well as Boingo Wireless, Advanced Wireless Group, Airport Marketing Income and others to provide the service. Currently the free deal includes 47 airports. Google is also providing free WiFi on every Virgin America flight during the holiday season.
- Satellite broadband provider Row 44 and mobile media company JiWire are teaming up to deliver free in-flight Wi-Fi supported by advertising.