Starbucks switches to AT&T hotspots - Wireless Turkeys 2008

Why is it a turkey?

In February, Starbucks announced that it had decided to drop its agreement with T-Mobile USA to be the sole provider of WiFi in its coffee shops and was instead switching to AT&T Mobility, ending its six-year relationship with T-Mobile. Starbucks said users of its Starbucks membership card would get two hours of free wireless access each day, and subsequent two hour blocks would cost $3.99.

Days later, after an outcry from T-Mobile HotSpot users who feared they had lost their WiFi access at Starbucks nationwide, T-Mobile issued a statement saying that the "announcement regarding the Starbucks WiFi operations will not impact T-Mobile HotSpot customers' ability to use WiFi services at Starbucks locations for years to come... at least for the next five years under a roaming agreement" between the two carriers.

But the saga was not over yet.  In June, Starbucks started allowing customers to get two hours of free AT&T WiFi when they signed up on its Card Reward web page for a $5 rewards card or to register an existing gift card. But there were a few hitches: card members had to make a purchase with their card once a month and customers overwhelmed the site, causing it to shut down temporarily. T-Mobile then sued Starbucks for a breach of contract, saying Starbucks had concocted the scheme with AT&T in secret while T-Mobile remained the sole provider of WiFi at Starbucks. Starbucks eventually settled the dispute with both T-Mobile and AT&T and the case did not go to trial.     

Starbucks switches to AT&T hotspots - Wireless Turkeys 2008