Free AT&T WiFi access for iPhones (again)

Free AT&T WiFi access for iPhones (again)

Summary: Back in May AT&T started then stopped offering free Wi-Fi (several times) to iPhone subscribers at its corporately owned hotspots across the U.S.


Free AT&T WiFi access for iPhones (again)Back in May AT&T started then stopped offering free Wi-Fi (several times) to iPhone subscribers at its corporately owned hotspots across the U.S.

Today, my co-host on the PowerPage Podcast Rob Parker just received a text message from AT&T stating the that the service is back on again:

Your AT&T iPhone now has free AT&T Wi-Fi access at thousands of hotspots nationwide, including Starbucks*. For info visit

According to the AT&T Web site, its hotspots are located in:

  • Airports
  • Hotels
  • Universities
  • Convention Centers
  • Sports Centers
  • Starbucks locations
  • Restaurants
  • Bookstores
  • Supermarkets

I haven't received the message yet, so perhaps AT&T is doing a staggered rollout? Anyone think that this time it's for real?

Topics: AT&T, iPhone, Mobility, Networking, Wi-Fi

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • I don't quite get it . . .

    I don't quite get it - I thought WiFi was just a radio in the phone. Is AT&T disabling the radio or what? Did you have to [b]pay[/b] to turn on the radio in the phone??

    That's just messed up beyond belief.
    • Clarification

      I believe that certain places (Starbuck's, for example) have a partnership with AT&T, and AT&T provides a WiFi access point there. Generally, you have to pay to access the wireless, but in certain cases you can get it free. There's several different cases, but things like activation of a Starbuck's card, or, in this case, iPhone subscription.

      AT&T is not disabling anything; they are granting access to one of their wireless access points for free if you are part of their network.

      More info on the Starbuck's plan is here:
      • Simple Solution

        If Starbucks charges for wifi, go to Panera.
        Real World
        • Agreed

          . . . or pretty much anywhere else. It's pretty easy to find a free WiFi hotspot these days.
        • True

          Frankly, I was surprised to find out Starbuck's charges for WiFi, especially given the free WiFi available everywhere else.

          But if one has an iPhone and is going to Starbuck's anyway, it works. Definitely not the strongest perk to get an iPhone (or for that matter, go to Starbuck's), but if you have one...
          • Free Wi-Fi @ Starbucks is easy

            All you need to do is change the browser user agent to mimic the iPhone browser. Pretty basic hack. :\
          • Actually, it isn't the browser

            AT&T doesn't use your browser to decide anything.

            It requires your ten-digit mobile telephone number when you connect to the WiFi access point, and follows that up with a text message with a secure link. No browser detection required.

          • Might work for a smart phone.. but..

  's different if you've got a laptop. You launch your browser of choice and try to connect to a web site.. You'll be prompted to log in using your AT&T DSL credentials or the ones provided on your Starbucks card.
    • He's talking about Hotspot access

      The radio is not disabled... It is the pay-per-hour access in AT&T WiFi hotspots.
  • RE: Free AT

    I just received my text message a few minutes ago. We'll see if it works when I find a ATT hotspot.
    The Virtual Dude
  • I've used it a bunch

    I'm not sure what problems you guys are seeing, but I have used the service at Starbucks and B&N bookstores all over the country. I've used it with both my iPhone and my laptop and I've never paid a penny in addition to what I already pay for the iPhone and my SBC e-mail account.