Starbucks replaces T-Mobile with AT&T (free Wi-Fi)

Starbucks Coffee has replaced its Wi-Fi provider T-Mobile with AT&T. Starbucks announced their partnership with AT&T this morning.

starbucks coffee arul johnTheir new partnership with AT&T allows Starbucks customers to use Wi-Fi freely for 2 hours if they pay using a prepaid Starbucks card. If they pay otherwise, they’ll be paying $3.99 per two-hour session, and monthly memberships will cost $19.99 per month.

In the article,

The chain has slowed its store expansion considerably and has been looking for other ways to appeal to customers. With free WiFi being used as a selling points for many smaller cafes, $9.99 per day at Starbucks just wasn’t cutting it for most WiFi addicts. Reshaping its offerings with AT&T to offer free or cheap service will allow Starbucks to compete with smaller coffee houses for those customers, while making its current customers even happier.

I think this is a right move for Starbucks from the business point of view. They’ll still have to work a little harder at the “free” clause if they want to attract more coffee drinkers/Wi-Fi users who hog free Wi-Fi areas like Panera and public libraries.

Read more here.

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Using T-Mobile’s Wireless Internet freely

T-Mobile and Windows Vista have got together to give new Microsoft Vista customers free complimentary T-Mobile Hotspot usage until April 2007. Laptop owners with Linux, Microsoft XP or MacOS will still have to pay (unless they do what I have written below).

T-Mobile’s wireless Internet at Starbucks or Borders generally costs $9.99 for one day unlimited use or $29.99 and above for monthly usage.

If you do not have Windows Vista, yet want to use T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi freely, follow the steps:

1. Change your user-agent string to show this:

Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0)

To change your user-agent string in Firefox, you can try this Firefox extension called User Agent Switcher.

Add a new entry and make it look like this:

I do not know how to spoof the user-agent in other browsers like IE, Opera, Safari, etc, but there should be a way.

2. Test if your browser is spoofing Vista by clicking here.

You should see this:

Vista and IE 7

If you see your regular operating system (and not Windows Vista), it means you have not entered the user-agent string correctly. In that case, repeat step 1.

3. Go to T-Mobile’s Vista signup page here. Create an account for yourself and browse the Internet freely at any T-Mobile Hotspot like Starbucks or Borders!