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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Free WiFi At Starbucks

Comments (7)

Starbucks announced that today that you can hang out, drink coffee, eat high calorie baked goods, and surf the web for "free" for two hours (assuming you are drinking coffee and eating high calorie baked goods.)  This is due to a very smart move on AT&T’s part where they have displaced T-Mobile as the WiFi provider at Starbucks stores. 

I’m really surprised that T-Mobile let this deal get away from them.  I happily pay $10 / month to T-Mobile for WiFi service – the two places I use it 99.4% of the time are Starbucks and the United Red Carpet Club.  If AT&T takes the Red Carpet Club deal, T-Mobile is going to lose that incremental $10 / month from me.  I realize that "free for two hours" at Starbucks might not have kept me paying this $10, but I probably wouldn’t have noticed (or done anything) for a while.

  • http://www.ryanspoon.com/blog Ryan

    Like you, the only reason I have a TMobile account is for internet browsing in Starbucks or in airports (like Denver). Having free AT&T at Starbucks will certainly save me that $10/month and probably end up in a few more sausage, egg & cheese sandwiches…. great move by SBUX.

  • Tom

    Free WiFi at SBUX? Sure. I can't tell you the number of times I have chosen an alternative to SBUX for free WiFi across the street, so free WiFi will undoubtedly increase sales at SBUX.

    But a good deal for AT&T? Well they closed a huge deal with 8 gajillion locations of service, so perhaps…but on the other hand, you know that SBUX didn't leave ATT much gravy in the deal, and besides, AT&T has a long history of doing stupid shit so who knows, they probably traded internet service for a cup of burnt coffee per location per day and a trendy music CD or two. Of course, at SBUX prices, this payment-in-kind will be generous bump to ATT revenue. So maybe it is a win-win after all.

  • X

    Not every business decision is evaluated by the question, “Does Brad Feld use our product?” That T-mobile plan is too expensive and paid Wi-Fi will become non-existent everywhere except monopolistic environments like airports.

  • http://barefootmeg.multiply.com barefootmeg

    there are too many wonderful cafes out there that have not only free wifi, but better coffee and other drinks as well. i haven't stepped inside a starbucks in at least a decade. their changing to a free wifi service doesn't make the place any more appealing to me.

  • Daniel

    AT&T already had most of the circuits going into starbucks. plus iphone drove this.

  • http://dottiehall.wordpress.com Dottie

    Free unlimited wifi is now available at zillions (okay at least thousands) of coffee shops. Starbucks has taken a way-too-timid half step.

  • http://boulderreport.typepad.com Jerry Lewis

    I always figured the reason Starbucks used the TMobile fee system for wireless is that they didn't want people lounging about for hours surfing the Net while drinking just one latte. It wasn't a big deal for me since I much prefer the locally owned and independent coffee shops, all of which offer free wireless. With Starbucks' high coffee markups, they want foot traffic. But two hours free wireless should be plenty of time to get some work done with your coffee, and I think more people will now be back in the Starbucks lines.

  • X

    Not every business decision is evaluated by the question, "Does Brad Feld use our product?" That T-mobile plan is too expensive and paid Wi-Fi will become non-existent everywhere except monopolistic environments like airports.

  • Ryan

    Like you, the only reason I have a TMobile account is for internet browsing in Starbucks or in airports (like Denver). Having free AT&T at Starbucks will certainly save me that $10/month and probably end up in a few more sausage, egg & cheese sandwiches…. great move by SBUX.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/barefootmeg389 barefootmeg389

    there are too many wonderful cafes out there that have not only free wifi, but better coffee and other drinks as well. i haven't stepped inside a starbucks in at least a decade. their changing to a free wifi service doesn't make the place any more appealing to me.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/tom tom

    Free WiFi at SBUX? Sure. I can't tell you the number of times I have chosen an alternative to SBUX for free WiFi across the street, so free WiFi will undoubtedly increase sales at SBUX.

    But a good deal for AT&T? Well they closed a huge deal with 8 gajillion locations of service, so perhaps…but on the other hand, you know that SBUX didn't leave ATT much gravy in the deal, and besides, AT&T has a long history of doing stupid shit so who knows, they probably traded internet service for a cup of burnt coffee per location per day and a trendy music CD or two. Of course, at SBUX prices, this payment-in-kind will be generous bump to ATT revenue. So maybe it is a win-win after all.

  • Daniel

    AT&T already had most of the circuits going into starbucks. plus iphone drove this.

  • Dottie

    Free unlimited wifi is now available at zillions (okay at least thousands) of coffee shops. Starbucks has taken a way-too-timid half step.

  • Jerry Lewis

    I always figured the reason Starbucks used the TMobile fee system for wireless is that they didn't want people lounging about for hours surfing the Net while drinking just one latte. It wasn't a big deal for me since I much prefer the locally owned and independent coffee shops, all of which offer free wireless. With Starbucks' high coffee markups, they want foot traffic. But two hours free wireless should be plenty of time to get some work done with your coffee, and I think more people will now be back in the Starbucks lines.

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