Posted by Brian McCullough
If you’re one of those busy workers who depends on Starbucks to be your office on the go, there’s some important news out today.
Ever since I can remember (the early 2000s at least) the wifi connection at Starbucks was served up by T-Mobile. I never have used Starbucks routinely enough that it made sense to pay for a monthly subscription, but many a time I have paid the $6-10 per hour charge to dash off some quick work in the Starbucks window.
Now the coffee emporium is switching partnerships, going with AT&T exclusively. I bet this has something to do with the Iphone and it’s AT&T exclusivity. Some of the details of this change are a net-positive for wifi customers:
- AT&T’s asking just $4 a day for a two hours of access, compared to T-Mobile’s $6-10 per hour charge.
- AT&T is going to charge $20/month for unlimited access to wifi, which matches T-Mobile’s rate.
- AT&T is also the partner for McDonalds’ wifi service, so between Starbucks and McDonalds, you probably can’t throw a rock without finding a wifi hotspot in America.
- And a bonus for AT&T DSL customers: you receive wifi access for free as a part of your monthly DSL rate.
In addition, there’s this little tid bit:
The good news is that just for having a Starbucks card, you get 2 free hours of wi-fi a day. Presumably this means that for just by making a purchase with your Starbucks card, you get 2 free hours of net access.
Apparently, T-Mobile customers will still be able to login at Starbucks, through an agreement with AT&T.
My question is, when will the day come when Starbucks drops charging for wifi altogether? The coffee shop I frequent is a small mom-and-pop local chain. Like most non-multinational eat and drink establishments, the wifi is gratis. I would imagine the day will come when it’s just assumed that every public place will have wifi and it will be free.
Or maybe I’m being naive. Starbucks probably makes millions of dollars a day by charging people.