Mike’s prediction looks to be coming true…
Well, the prediction is happening… sort of. Starbucks is TESTING FREE WI-FI at some 1,000 Southern California stores (until October 31).
So this is quite interesting, particularly after I went absolutely nuts about a year ago when I realised just how much T-Mobile was charging, per minute, for access to WiFi in Starbucks stores.
I’ve since used my T-Mobile WiFi account (I added that to my monthly subscription a while ago) quite a few times to perform business-life-saving updates or edits when I’ve been on the road.
If you’re in California, perhaps you could pop into your nearest Starbucks and confirm if they’ve got free WiFi?
I suspect that free Starbucks WiFi will be a massive draw for passing and regular customers. That’s provide that folk don’t spend the whole afternoon hogging tables whilst working on WiFi and only buying one bottle of water…
Introducing free (inter)national WiFi in Starbucks would also change the dynamic on wireless devices. I can’t be arsed, for example, to configure my Nokia N95 to find the T-Mobile hotspot, then LOG ON to the access page and type my extremely long and annoying username and password assigned by the service. It would take a good five minutes of typing to do this. So I never bother using WiFi on my N95 — or my iPhone, for that matter, unless it’s free to use.
It’d also prompt a heck of a lot of other store chains to take a look at their pay-WiFi (or lack of WiFi) — e.g. McDonalds and BT Openzone here in the UK.