Starbucks to Offer Refuge to Those Left Internet-less By ATT, Sprint Data LimitsBy Jessica Davis | Print
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Starbucks will offer free unlimited WiFi access, starting July 1 at all of its U.S. company-owed stores. Starbucks move follows actions by mobile carriers including AT&T and Sprint to end the unlimited data ride.Even as AT&T and Sprint and maybe others batten down the hatches on unlimited data use by subscribers, Starbucks is opening the doors to free WiFi – a refuge for those left Internet-less by ever stricter carrier data policies.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced that free, one-click WiFi would arrive on July 1 to all U.S. company operated stores. The service is provided, ironically, through AT&T.
In addition, Schultz said that Starbucks would introduce a new online customer experience called the Starbucks Digital Network, in partnership with Yahoo, and making its debut in fall 2010. Available only in U.S. company-operated Starbucks stores, the Starbucks Digital Network will give customers "free unrestricted access to various paid sites and services such as wsj.com, exclusive content and previews, and free downloads, among other services."
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Launch content providers will include iTunes, the New York Times, USA Today and ZAGAT.
The initiative will be driven by Digital Ventures, a new business unit headed up by Starbucks CIO Stephen Gillett.