Don’t get too excited, Starbucks isn’t giving away free mochas. They are giving you an opportunity to get Internet access in Starbucks locations for free.Starbucks’ long time partnership with T-Mobile to provide paid Internet hotspots in the company’s stores is coming to an end. Starting in April, AT&T will be replacing T-Mobile as Starbucks’ Internet service provider.
The new AT&T-Starbucks deal provides AT&T DSL subscribers (those with 1.5Mbps packages or higher) with free Wi-Fi Internet access at all company-owned Starbucks locations. This means that your $25.00 a month home DSL connection will provide you with over 17,000 Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the country, free of charge.
I see this as real competition for cellular phone based mobile broadband services. My current AT&T mobile broadband subscription is costing nearly $60 a month. That is $720 a year. Ironically, most of the time that I use that connection, I am at or within walking distance of a Starbucks.
Once the transition to AT&T is implemented in my area, I will be cancelling my mobile broadband account and switching from cable Internet access to DSL at home.
With real estate agent budgets so tight right now, this tactic seems like a smart one. Besides, if you aren’t within 2 minutes of a Starbucks, you probably won’t be getting a cell phone signal anyway.