Government // Mobile & Wireless
News
4/16/2008
04:19 PM
50%
50%

AT&T Launches Starbucks Wi-Fi Service In San Antonio

Blogger Alan Weinkrantz, the first to use the service, reported that it worked perfectly.

AT&T has launched its new Wi-Fi Starbucks service at a coffee shop near the AT&T headquarters in San Antonio.

Blogger Alan Weinkrantz saw the AT&T trucks at the Starbucks on Tuesday, rushed to his office to pick up his laptop, and successfully logged on, becoming the first customer for the Wi-Fi service, which is planned to be offered in 7,000 Starbucks locations before the end of the year.

"I was told I was the first [Starbucks customer] to get the service in the U.S.," Weinkrantz said in an interview. "In the past I paid for it as a T-Mobile customer." Weinkrantz said the service worked perfectly. Later, he used his iPhone at the San Antonio store and, once again, the iPhone's Wi-Fi operated without a hitch. AT&T is the exclusive provider of Apple iPhones in the United States.

The San Antonio location is the first deployment of the eagerly anticipated AT&T Wi-Fi service, an AT&T spokeswoman said. She noted that the service is free to qualifying customers of AT&T's U-verse and broadband services in the company's 22-state operating region. Some additional AT&T customers, as well as holders of Starbucks Cards, will qualify for the service, too. Tiered service starting at $3.99 per session also will be offered at Starbucks locations.

What about T-Mobile customers who have been using Wi-Fi at Starbucks locations for years?

T-Mobile has said its paid service will continue to be offered at Starbucks locations for at least five more years under a roaming agreement with AT&T. Previously, AT&T had supplied back-office systems for Starbucks' restaurants, so the move to accommodate both companies was relatively easy.

In a statement, Joe Sims, T-Mobile's VP and general manager of broadband products and services, said, "We are still the only national wireless carrier that is actively expanding the use of Wi-Fi in and outside of customers' homes through our ... T-Mobile Hotspot @Home service, which allows users to make and receive phone calls using Wi-Fi and Hotspot @Home-enabled mobile devices."

T-Mobile offers for $19.99 a month a Wi-Fi service that can be used in Starbucks locations.

Another service offered by Spanish company FON also provides a way to connect to Starbucks' Wi-Fi services. FON has been signing up Wi-Fi users, who then offer to share their Wi-Fi access points with other FON users.

Another player in Starbucks' Wi-Fi offering is Apple, which offers its iTunes music purchasing service at Starbucks locations. AT&T and T-Mobile are also bonded through the iPhone: AT&T has exclusive rights to market the phone in the United States, and T-Mobile has exclusive rights in Germany.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Elite 100 Digital Issue, April 2015
The 27th annual ranking of the leading US users of business technology
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of April 19, 2015.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.