Coffee means big business here in the
United States. Starbucks grew from its humble roots in the Northwest
to a point now where you can find at least a few within a 5 mile
radius in any major U.S. city. Fast food chain McDonalds has even
gotten in on the act to cash in on the success of “premium”
In an attempt to provide a better "in
store experience" for its customers and to distance itself from
McDonalds threat, Starbucks today announced a new strategic
alliance to provide WiFi service to customers. Beginning in the
spring of 2008, 7,000+ Starbucks stores in the U.S. will switch
from T-Mobile WiFi access to AT&T.
“As we continue to build our
technology offerings in ways that both enhance and expand the
Starbucks Experience for our customers, we made a strategic decision
to expand our existing relationship with our longtime technology
partner AT&T to include consumer Wi-Fi,” said Starbucks CTO
Starbucks notes that its customers that
wish to continue using T-Mobile Hotspot access will be able to do so
seamlessly thanks to an agreement between AT&T and T-Mobile.
According to the company, Starbucks
cardholders will be allotted two hours of free WiFi access per day at
Starbucks stores. As reported
by DailyTech in late January, existing AT&T broadband
and AT&T U-verse customers will have access to free WiFi at any
“This is what our customers have been
waiting for — free Starbucks-quality Wi-Fi,” Bruzzo continued.
“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.”
Customers without a Starbucks card or
an AT&T broadband account will pay $3.99 for two hours of service
or $19.99 for a month's worth of surfing.
quote: McDonald's isn't anywhere near even approaching Starbucks as any sort of threat. Chances are they never will be either.