Starbucks, AT&T team-up to offer Free Wi-Fi across the US

AT&T and Starbucks logos AT&T and Starbucks have joined hands to deliver AT&T Wi-FiSM service at over 7,000 company-operated Starbucks locales in the U.S. This move can surely be claimed as the merging of two of the biggest names in the U.S., in order to develop a strong and simple online experience for end users and business consumers. Under this initiative, Starbucks and AT&T will offer a blend of free and paid Wi-Fi offerings at Starbucks outlets to meet the demands of regular as well as sporadic Starbucks Wi-Fi customer base.

In addition, the latest venture further extends the AT&T network, which is already the largest in the U.S., to over 17,000 U.S. hot spots and more than 70,000 worldwide.

From Spring 2008, Starbucks Card holders can avail of up to 2 hours of free Wi-Fi service each day at Starbucks locations offering Wi-Fi access, while over 12 million qualifying AT&T broadband and AT&T U-verseSM internet subscribers will have unlimited free access to the Wi-Fi service. Further on, over 5 million of AT&T’s remote access services business customers can access Wi-Fi service at Starbucks locations. The network provider stated that its wireless subscribers will also soon be able to enjoy the benefits of Wi-Fi at Starbucks.

AT&T’s consumer business CMO Rick Welday said, “People want to stay connected to their world 24/7, and Wi-Fi hot spots, broadband and wireless make that mobility possible.” Adding, “Laptops and smartphones give us the online mobility we crave, and now millions of AT&T and Starbucks customers will get Internet access free from the comfort of their neighborhood Starbucks.”

“This is what our customers have been waiting for — free Starbucks-quality Wi-Fi,” maintained Chris Bruzzo, chief technology officer, Starbucks Coffee Company. “Through our new partnership with AT&T, we also welcome their millions of current customers who can now come in and enjoy free Wi-Fi as part of their daily Starbucks Experience.”

Ken Lombard, president, Starbucks Entertainment said, “Our new relationship with AT&T gives us the opportunity to expand and enhance the range of digital entertainment experiences for our customers as well as our partners, including the continued rollout of the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store at Starbucks.”

What’s more, all the 100,000+ Starbucks partners across the United States will receive free AT&T Wi-Fi accounts, enabling them to use the network in Starbucks company-operated locations offering Wi-Fi access.

Apart from the free Wi-Fi access for eligible AT&T customers and any Starbucks Card holder, consumers will also be able to buy tiered access to the AT&T Wi-Fi network at Starbucks at attractive price points. Customers need to shell out only $3.99 per session for a two-hour duration. In addition, a monthly membership offer can be availed at only $19.99 per month, and will include access to any of AT&T’s 70,000 hot spots in 89 countries worldwide.

Unlimited, flat-rate access plans can be availed by all those AT&T business customers who subscribe to remote access services at any Starbucks location that provides Wi-Fi service or at other AT&T Wi-Fi hot spots.

Moreover, AT&T is offering Starbucks an enterprise-class network with improved bandwidth and redundancy. AT&T’s primary network technologies will allow a wide range of business applications and help Starbucks stores operate more competently.

AT&T Wi-Fi service at Starbucks will take place on a market-by-market basis with store execution kicking off from this spring and completed by the end of 2008.