Email Delivery

Receive new posts as email.

Email address

Syndicate this site

RSS | Atom


About This Site
Contact Us
Privacy Policy


November 2010
Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30        

Stories by Category

Basics :: Basics
Casting :: Casting Listen In Podcasts Videocasts
Culture :: Culture Hacking
Deals :: Deals
Future :: Future
Hardware :: Hardware Adapters Appliances Chips Consumer Electronics Gaming Home Entertainment Music Photography Video Gadgets Mesh Monitoring and Testing PDAs Phones Smartphones
Industry :: Industry Conferences Financial Free Health Legal Research Vendor analysis
International :: International
Media :: Media Locally cached Streaming
Metro-Scale Networks :: Metro-Scale Networks Community Networking Municipal
Network Types :: Network Types Broadband Wireless Cellular 2.5G and 3G 4G Power Line Satellite
News :: News Mainstream Media
Politics :: Politics Regulation Sock Puppets
Schedules :: Schedules
Security :: Security 802.1X
Site Specific :: Site Specific Administrative Detail April Fool's Blogging Book review Cluelessness Guest Commentary History Humor Self-Promotion Unique Wee-Fi Who's Hot Today?
Software :: Software Open Source
Spectrum :: Spectrum 60 GHz
Standards :: Standards 802.11a 802.11ac 802.11ad 802.11e 802.11g 802.11n 802.20 Bluetooth MIMO UWB WiGig WiMAX ZigBee
Transportation and Lodging :: Transportation and Lodging Air Travel Aquatic Commuting Hotels Rails
Unclassified :: Unclassified
Vertical Markets :: Vertical Markets Academia Enterprise WLAN Switches Home Hot Spot Aggregators Hot Spot Advertising Road Warrior Roaming Libraries Location Medical Public Safety Residential Rural SOHO Small-Medium Sized Business Universities Utilities wISP
Voice :: Voice


November 2010 | October 2010 | September 2010 | August 2010 | July 2010 | June 2010 | May 2010 | April 2010 | March 2010 | February 2010 | January 2010 | December 2009 | November 2009 | October 2009 | September 2009 | August 2009 | July 2009 | June 2009 | May 2009 | April 2009 | March 2009 | February 2009 | January 2009 | December 2008 | November 2008 | October 2008 | September 2008 | August 2008 | July 2008 | June 2008 | May 2008 | April 2008 | March 2008 | February 2008 | January 2008 | December 2007 | November 2007 | October 2007 | September 2007 | August 2007 | July 2007 | June 2007 | May 2007 | April 2007 | March 2007 | February 2007 | January 2007 | December 2006 | November 2006 | October 2006 | September 2006 | August 2006 | July 2006 | June 2006 | May 2006 | April 2006 | March 2006 | February 2006 | January 2006 | December 2005 | November 2005 | October 2005 | September 2005 | August 2005 | July 2005 | June 2005 | May 2005 | April 2005 | March 2005 | February 2005 | January 2005 | December 2004 | November 2004 | October 2004 | September 2004 | August 2004 | July 2004 | June 2004 | May 2004 | April 2004 | March 2004 | February 2004 | January 2004 | December 2003 | November 2003 | October 2003 | September 2003 | August 2003 | July 2003 | June 2003 | May 2003 | April 2003 | March 2003 | February 2003 | January 2003 | December 2002 | November 2002 | October 2002 | September 2002 | August 2002 | July 2002 | June 2002 | May 2002 | April 2002 | March 2002 | February 2002 | January 2002 | December 2001 | November 2001 | October 2001 | September 2001 | August 2001 | July 2001 | June 2001 | May 2001 | April 2001 |

Recent Entries

In-Flight Wi-Fi and In-Flight Bombs
Can WPA Protect against Firesheep on Same Network?
Southwest Sets In-Flight Wi-Fi at $5
Eye-Fi Adds a View for Web Access
Firesheep Makes Sidejacking Easy
Wi-Fi Direct Certification Starts
Decaf on the Starbucks Digital Network
Google Did Snag Passwords
WiMax and LTE Not Technically 4G by ITU Standards
AT&T Wi-Fi Connections Keep High Growth with Free Service

Site Philosophy

This site operates as an independent editorial operation. Advertising, sponsorships, and other non-editorial materials represent the opinions and messages of their respective origins, and not of the site operator. Part of the FM Tech advertising network.


Entire site and all contents except otherwise noted © Copyright 2001-2010 by Glenn Fleishman. Some images ©2006 Jupiterimages Corporation. All rights reserved. Please contact us for reprint rights. Linking is, of course, free and encouraged.

Powered by
Movable Type

« Wee-Fi: Boingo Expands Mobile Offerings; WPS in More Devices; Train-Fi in Europe Goes Full Tilt | Main | Poll Results »

February 12, 2008

Starbucks Switches to AT&T, the Next Day

Yesterday was pretty overwhelming, trying to sort out all the facts, and the impact: The bits and pieces of this industry-changing deal will keep shaking out until and past the launch. I have some detritus from yesterday to catch up on, as well as some new analysis of what this means. (You can also read my coverage in The Seattle Times, where I discuss this as more of a general business story.)

The Starbucks Card and free access: The press release from Starbucks and three conversations I had with them yesterday finally made clear what the free 2-hours access requires. You need a Starbucks Card, which is their stored-value card, not a credit card. (Their Starbucks Duetto credit card will, however, also qualify.) Starbucks Cards can be purchased at a store with a minimum fill of $5.00 that you can use to buy stuff at the store. Once you have the card, free Wi-Fi service is activated by a single purchase of any amount on the card every 30 days. No purchase is needed each time you use the free Wi-Fi nor for the 30 days following a purchase! (A reader asked whether you also had to be an AT&T subscriber. No.)

Starbuckscard-1AT&T's network scope and pricing: AT&T isn't very clear about what they include in various free and fee roaming packages. After consulting their Wi-Fi site and talking to an AT&T spokesperson yesterday, I think I have the story. DSL, fiber, and business remote-access customers (the 12m we've been discussing) get the Basic package included at no cost, which isn't 17,000 (with Starbucks included) but isn't far off. It's McDonald's (8,500) plus Starbucks (7,000) plus Barnes & Noble (several hundred) and a few other chains/venues and airports that AT&T operates itself. Most U.S. hotels and airports operated by other providers require a Premier subscription, which also adds 53,000 international locations. For those who get Basic for free, the Premier subscription is $10.00 per month; all others, Premier is the only option for a subscription, and it's $20 per month. Pricing is explained, but not very clearly, on their Wi-Fi page; you have to look at that page and then at the location finder to sort this out.

AT&T Wireless customers: There's no deal here for anyone but DSL, fiber, and remote-access business customers. Those will cell plans don't (yet) get anything special. That includes...

...The iPhone: No iPhone update yesterday, but everyone I interviewed was winking slyly.

Media in the stores, and Apple: Starbucks chief technical officer as much as told me that Starbucks has Apple media servers in their stores that feed out songs and previews based on what's programmed in the stores. The move from there to caching digital movie rentals and popular downloads is very, very small. I've written a long piece explaining this for Mac journal TidBITS: Starbucks Deal Brewed with AT&T Has Hints of Apple. You're going to walk into Starbucks, log onto free or cheap Wi-Fi, and download a movie for rental in a few minutes from the local network.

3G iPhone: Oh, yeah, I predict Starbucks will be part of the launch plan for the 3G iPhone, which I would now wager will appear in second quarter because that's when AT&T will have some markets up and running with Wi-Fi in the coffeeshops.

Location: Starbucks CTO Chris Bruzzo also emphasized community, location, and digital experience. He had few specifics, but the idea of bringing in portable devices, like cameras and games, and spending time interacting online in some fashion, yet to be described, with a community that's highly local to the store seemed the theme. He also mentioned location-based services in passing, since each store obviously has a fixed location; T-Mobile was providing some location-based information before this, but more extensive offerings sounds planned. Bruzzo was hip about broadcasting Web services that devices on the network would pick up, instead of talking about a Web browser to Web server equation, which is more laptop oriented.

Many devices, one account: You'll be able to use the same account or Starbucks Card code to bring multiple devices online at the same time, within reason. Bruzzo at Starbucks said it would be handled in a reasonable fashion; an iPhone and laptop logged in at the same time wouldn't cause the system to complain. They'll track MAC addresses--that's adapter unique IDs--to avoid real abuse.

Wi-Fi as glue between home and true mobility: AT&T also told me yesterday that the abundance of "free" in this deal had to do with cementing a customer's connection seamlessly along whatever they do. Joe Izbrand, a spokesperson, said, "The benefit is in our ability to continue to big the largest Wi-Fi connect, to deliver converged connectivity across the board, it's part of what we're trying to do to keep people connected no matter what they're doing, on the home, on the road, whatever. In the competitive marketplace, that's a real differentiator."

T-Mobile and Starbucks: As noted yesterday, T-Mobile data subscribers will have fee-free roaming access onto Starbucks when the transition to AT&T happens in each store, for now and "for years to come" according to a revised statement released late in the afternoon yesterday by T-Mobile. The statement also clarifies that T-Mobile HotSpot@Home customers who use the converged cell/Wi-Fi handsets for calling over either kind of network will also be included in this. The deal lasts "at least the next five years." I don't have details on this, but I have been told that the transfer of provider was abrupt, and I suspect that Starbucks made this a condition of the AT&T deal to avoid any of its customers being upset by a service transition. While numbers of monthly subscribers have never been released, it's likely in the 100,000 to 125,000 range. I can't see many fewer, and it's hard to see decisions T-Mobile made if the number was much larger.

Wayport's catbird seat: The first person I called when I heard about the deal was Dan Lowden at Wayport, a long-time executive who has been through all the changes in the market. Wayport is AT&T's managed service partner, and has the direct contract with McDonald's, to which Wayport resells access to AT&T; they're picking up 7,000 more locations to manage through this deal. "I think this is some of the biggest news in the industry ever," Lowden said, and I am loathe to disagree; the only other news that might qualify as "bigger" were failures, such as the shutdown of Cometa, which ultimately has made little difference in the market's evolution. In fact, the original Starbucks deal with MobileStar in 2001 was one of the factors that launched hotspot deployment at a faster pace. I asked Lowden about the role of mobile devices in their networks. "We work with a lot of these device manufacturers as they're coming to market" to ensure a good connection experience, Lowden said.