Starbucks today ended a long-time partnership with T-Mobile in favor of a new Wi-Fi offering from AT&T that will bring a mix of free and paid wireless Internet service in more than 7,000 Starbucks locations in the US, beginning this spring. The deal actually makes sense considering Apple and AT&T have been partners for awhile with the iPhone, and Starbucks already partnered with Apple for free iPhone access to the iTunes Store for the sake of sampling and buying music.
According to this Associated Press story
, customers will be able to use their Starbucks card to buy something and get two hours of free Wi-Fi. Those looking to surf longer can also pay $3.99 for another two hours or buy a monthly membership for $19.99, which includes access to any other AT&T hot spot. By comparison, T-Mobile charges $6 per hour-long session to $9.99 for a day pass to $39.99 a month for unlimited access.
Current AT&T DSL customers will reportedly get unlimited free access, as do all Starbucks employees. Interestingly, T-Mobile hotspot customers will also get free access thanks to an agreement set up between T-Mobile and AT&T.