T-Mobile Unhappy With Starbucks Wi-Fi Switch

A bitter brew for T-Mobile

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The coffeehouse chain’s switch to AT&T to offer free wireless Internet to customers received a shot of criticism and a lawsuit from former partner T-Mobile.

Wireless carrier T-Mobile found itself tossed out of the land of baristas and lattes in favor of AT&T. The new deal brought about a much faster switch to AT&T than T-Mobile wanted to see.

T-Mobile contended in a new suit cited by Reuters that AT&T swooped in too soon to scoop up the goodies and serve Starbucks’ customers. The carrier alleged AT&T and Starbucks kicked up the pace of the switchover by taking advantage of the infrastructure T-Mobile put in place.

AT&T service in Starbucks was not supposed to begin in a market until all the stores in the market received the technology change away from T-Mobile’s network. An agreement in February between all three companies on the switchover gave T-Mobile the right to keep selling services in Starbucks until such market changes took place.

Starbucks defended the early change, saying in the report they sought to ensure the availability of Wi-Fi in its stores for customers.

The appeal of wireless access to Starbucks and other service-oriented businesses hinges on the increasingly mobility of segments of the workforce. Mobile workers like salespeople spend little time in offices, and benefit from being able to connect and work from remote places.

Some enlightened employers found that permitting a remote option for workers who customarily come into an office proved useful, not only in productivity but in terms of quality of life. If a Starbucks or similarly Wi-Fi equipped business presents a shorter commute for someone, that’s an additional perk as gas prices continue their uncontrollable rise.

T-Mobile Unhappy With Starbucks Wi-Fi Switch
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  • http://www.PremierNetClicks.com CSSteve

    I could not be happier to see Starbucks finally wake up and smell the coffee. The first time a client invited me to a Starbucks for a meeting I was shocked to see that I needed to pay 20 bux to use my wifi. I just could not believe that at some point an intellegent executive thought it was a good idea to charge patrons for wifi usage. Now, I doubt it was a moment of clarity that woke Starbucks up. It was far likely that their more lucent competitors taking the business meeting demographic away from them that made them see the light. Either way, I am very glad to see Starbucks back on the map of possible b2b venues.

  • Guest

    Any acceleration on starbucks part to free wifi is a good thing.  It has been hard for me to believe how long it took them to make the move.  I find my habits have changed overtime, and I now seek out shops with free wifi, building new loyalties that once belonged to starbucks.  now, if the help at starbucks will stop correcting me when I don’t use their faux Italian, then I might return.  Forgive me if I slip up and order a 16 ounce something in so many words, only to have my language ‘corrected’ by some twerp, as in ‘you mean a grande?’  (and never order a double espresso, for fear of the comment ‘doppio?’)

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