This is, of course, not nearly as big news as Microsoft's ongoing attempts to buy Yahoo! But both events are part of a larger trend -- the movement towards free and open networks and software. I predict that in another few years, Starbucks will follow the example of many a local coffee house and provide wireless access completely free. The customers will just expect it.
Starbucks said Monday it will give customers that use its Starbucks purchase card two hours of free wireless access per day. After that, it will cost $3.99 for a two-hour session. Monthly memberships will cost $19.99 and include access to any of AT&T's 70,000 hot spots worldwide.
Nearly all of AT&T's broadband Internet customers will automatically have unlimited free Wi-Fi access at Starbucks.
Current T-Mobile HotSpot customers, who pay anywhere from $6 per hour-long session to $9.99 for a day pass to $39.99 a month for unlimited access, will get Wi-Fi access at no extra charge through an agreement between AT&T and T-Mobile.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Starbucks going almost free
For Internet wireless access, that is. It has long been a frustration to me -- and I am sure not really a benefit to Starbucks' bottom line -- that they used the overpriced (and highly unreliable) T-Mobile service for this. AP reports: