Free Wifi at Starbucks with AT&T

There’s been a lot of buzz about Starbucks partnering with AT&T to offer two hours of free wifi with a purchase.

Starbucks today announced a deal to offer AT&T WiFi service at more than 7,000 locations in the U.S. Starbucks card holders get up to two hours of free WiFi access per day; customers of AT&T broadband and AT&T U-verse will have unlimited access. Additional hours will be available at pricing starting at $3.99 per session for a two-hour period.

AT&T displaced T-Mobile as the wireless provider at all Starbucks. While this is great news for the average customer, it reduces the attractiveness of T-Mobile’s data plan. Included with the $20 a month data plan I have for my Dash was unlimited access to all of T-Mobile’s hotspots. This was a great deal especially if you travel a lot.

Now I have one less reason to stick with T-Mobile. I was hoping to get an iPhone when the new 3G models come out and potentially unlock it for T-Mobile. But now, other than the contract breakage fee, I don’t see many reasons to stay with T-Mobile.

I love T-Mobile’s customer service, but losing this deal with Starbucks may be a another sign that they will never move beyond last place in the wireless race in this country.

UPDATE: Apparently, AT&T will offer free roaming access to T-Mobile’s Hotspot customers. I just wonder how long this will last.

Another update: apparently T-Mobile has signed an agreement with AT&T to provide roaming access to T-Mobile Hotspot customers for the next five years. (via Thomas Upton)

Tom currently works in developer relations for IBM Watson. A serial entrepreneur, he's been the founder of numerous startups including Investify and StatsMix, a Techstars alumni company. Tom lives outside Boulder, Colorado and in his free time he's an avid rock climber, skier, and trail runner.

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