Starbucks to brew free Wi-Fi beginning July 1

Starbucks to brew free Wi-Fi beginning July 1

Summary: Customers will be able to consume free Wi-Fi, and enjoy some paid sites for free.

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If you're looking for some free Wi-Fi with your cup of coffee, Starbucks will soon be your place.

According to the company's announcement, it will start offering free, unlimited one-click Wi-Fi through AT&T at all of its U.S. company-owned stores beginning July 1st.

I'm definitely happy to hear that Starbucks is going to be offering free Wi-Fi, but at the same time I'm concerned at how overcrowded a Starbucks will soon become. Today it's hard enough to get a seat in one, and the only saving grace was that after two hours, people would be forced to pay or move on. Now they can technically sit there all day with their laptops.

This is a drastic change from the company's current offering of two free hours before being charged. I can only assume that the change to free Wi-Fi is in response to its competitors, including McDonalds, offering up fancy coffees these days, along with free Wi-Fi.

I read a study a while back that showed that free Wi-Fi does in fact cause people to purchase more coffee. It's either because they're feeling guilty about sitting for so long and not purchasing something, or that they're actually thirsty. Regardless, if people buy more because of the free Wi-Fi, then this is a great move for Starbucks from a corporate-side, too.

Another interesting piece that came out of the press release is the announcement of the Starbucks Digital Network. This is going to be live in the Fall and will offer up unique content offerings from launch partners including Yahoo!, iTunes, The New York Times, USA TODAY, and The Wall Street Journal, just to name a few.

So, not only will you get free Wi-Fi, but you'll also be able to enjoy free access to some sites that normally charge for access. Now it will be interesting to see if other coffee chains follow Starbucks' example. With AT&T and others now removing the all-you-can-eat plans, perhaps more users will duck into a Starbucks for their data needs, especially in NYC.

Topics: Mobility, Networking, Wi-Fi

Joel Evans

About Joel Evans

With more than 15 years of mobile, Internet and wireless experience, Joel specializes in taking existing brands and technologies into the mobile and wireless space. Joel is currently the VP of Strategy Integration for Mobiquity, an enterprise-class mobile solutions provider.

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8 comments
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  • RE: Starbucks to brew free Wi-Fi beginning July 1

    oy vey! starting July 1, Starbucks will be overrun day and night with laptop squatters!
    DJJazzyJeff
  • RE: Starbucks to brew free Wi-Fi beginning July 1

    ATT is overloaded now. Why not another provider?
    jeanann6
    • RE: Starbucks to brew free Wi-Fi beginning July 1

      @jeanann6

      Seriously. AT&T sucks!
      fibreoptik
    • RE: Starbucks to brew free Wi-Fi beginning July 1

      @jeanann6
      Sure, cellular data traffic is heavy, but this wifi will probably have a wire running to it.
      billtahoe
  • RE: Starbucks to brew free Wi-Fi beginning July 1

    free wi-fi... not impressed.
    skrip
  • ATT was already free for some DSL customers

    My DSL account (through my local telco) has already included free AT&T wi-fi at all Starbucks and McDonalds, for at least the past year, with no time limits. Sounds like Starbucks is finding it is hard to compete with something that was already free, for at least some of it's customers.
    jaybyrd
  • Malaysia starbuck

    Wow, i thought all US starbuck already provide free wifi for customer, starbuck at Malaysia done this long time ago, and compare with the Malaysia broadband rate, US should cheaper and more reliable.........
    Lghost
  • No mention of other users watching all of your traffic on the network...

    What isn't mentioned in any of Starbucks' PR materials is that the in-store networks are now even more vulnerable to WiFi sniffing and potential malicious attacks. When you don't even need a room key to get into the hotel pool anymore, you can imagine all the riff raff that will have access to the Starbucks hot spots. At least with the old "register your Starbucks card", there was a slight degree of accountability and control over other users on the network. A personal VPN service is the way you can proactively protect your information on any public network (not to keep digging at Starbucks here), and Security Blanket is a perfect example of just such a solution. Shameless plug, I know, but take a look at our site to learn more. We are currently offering a free Beta trial period to users leading up to our full launch this fall. Follow the link to see how you can sign up for the Beta today: www.getsecurityblanket.com/learnmore
    MarkDamian