Seattle (WA) - Starbucks is extending its Wi-Fi offer by bringing AT&T into its stores: In addition to T-Mobile, the San Antonio, Texas-based telecommunications company will be offering free and fee-based Wi-Fi options. AT&T broadband and Uverse customers will get free Wi-Fi access at Starbucks locations.
AT&T said it plans to be offering Wi-Fi access in more than 7000 Starbucks stores across the nation, which are add to its existing network of 17,000 national and about 70,000 global hotspots.
The deal may force T-Mobile, which continues to operate its hotspots at Starbucks, to rethink its pricing strategy: AT&T said that Starbucks Card holders will get up to 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. Also, "more than 100,000 Starbucks partners in the U.S." will receive free AT&T Wi-Fi accounts allowing them to use the network in Starbucks locations offering Wi-Fi access.
Beyond its free Wi-Fi service, AT&T will be charging $3.99 for two hours of Wi-Fi access as well as a "monthly membership" for $19.99. This fee will include access to any of AT&T’s 70,000 hot spots in 89 countries around the world.
The companies said that 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. The network is expected to be completed by the end of the year.