Starbucks Coffee is launching their free WIFI access through AT&T tomorrow, June 3, 2008. Unfortunately, it is not unlimited WIFI access. Through the deal between AT&T and Starbucks, customer who have a registered Starbucks Card will be able to access the internet for 2 continuous hours per day. The only other catch is that you must make a purchase once per month with your Starbucks Card to keep the account active.
All in all this is not a horrible deal. Starbucks could have done better by just giving customers free access for the day with purchase, but I can see the logic to limiting to 2 hours per day. I guess some people could just get 2 or more Starbucks Cards and mooch free WIFI all day (if the service does not limit based upon MAC address of your wireless device). The only down side to this whole scheme will be that it will be even harder to find a seat or an outlet at a Starbucks going forward. I’ll give the free WIFI a spin sometime tomorrow and see how it performs.
Remember, you can also get free drip coffee refills from Starbucks with your registered card. So figure $2 for a cup of coffee, free WIFI for 2 hours, and free refills the rest of the day… thats a decent deal.