AT&T officially began rolling out their Starbucks Wi-Fi hotspots today (and confirmed the first one spotted in the wild). AT&T broadband customers get free Wi-Fi at all 7,000 Starbucks starting May 1 but the rest of us have to wait as it's deployed on a market-by-market basis throughout the year. (Which means the spots for AT&T customers are probably running on T-Mo's boxes.) We tried to get a more clear timeline, at least for major markets, but they aren't elaborating right now. [AT&T]
SAN ANTONIO, Texas, and SEATTLE, Wash., April 25, 2008 — AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) and Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) today announced the beginning of the rollout of AT&T Wi-FiSM service at company-operated Starbucks stores, kicking off a nationwide effort that will continue through 2008. At the 2008 AT&T Inc. Annual Meeting of Stockholders in San Antonio, chairman and chief executive officer Randall Stephenson announced that the companies have already started the deployment of AT&T Wi-Fi service at Starbucks locations in San Antonio, making it the first market to deliver the complete AT&T Wi-Fi experience in the U.S.
Also, as of May 1, qualifying AT&T high speed Internet and Wi-Fi customers will have complimentary Wi-Fi access at more than 7,000 Starbucks locations nationwide. For millions of AT&T customers, that means more speed in more places — and for free — is on its way.
"With the power of our Wi-Fi network, and through our partnership with Starbucks, we're strengthening our ability to meet the needs of today's mobile consumer virtually anywhere and everywhere," Stephenson said. "Expanding our reach across company-operated Starbucks locations nationwide helps us bridge the gap between our wired and wireless offerings and affirms AT&T's commitment to connect people with their worlds, everywhere they live and work."
"We continue to build on the experience we know our customers expect from us," said Chris Bruzzo, chief technology officer, Starbucks. "By partnering with AT&T as our U.S. Wi-Fi provider we aim to deliver a better value, greater convenience and seamless connectivity in a mobility centric world to our customers."
As of May 1, qualifying AT&T customers can connect to the Internet from Wi-Fi enabled company-operated Starbucks locations nationwide by simply selecting "ATTWiFi" after powering up their computers. Free AT&T Wi-Fi service is currently offered with AT&T's three higher-speed residential broadband packages, all small business broadband packages and with all AT&T U-verseSM offerings with high speed Internet service.
For other customers, AT&T Wi-Fi service will reach company-operated Starbucks locations on a market-by-market basis throughout the year. The experience will include a mix of free and paid connection options for both frequent and occasional Wi-Fi users and qualifying Starbucks customers. Once AT&T Wi-Fi service is available, customers will be able to shop and surf both Starbucks' and AT&T's respective home pages for products and services.
The initiative brings together two of the most recognizable global brands to create a powerful and convenient online experience for consumers and business customers. The San Antonio launch delivers on the companies' joint commitment to begin the rollout of AT&T Wi-Fi service this spring.