AT&T announced that subscribers to its highest-speed DSL services will have free access to its WiFi hotspots throughout the country. Subscribers who get the company's Pro, Elite and FastAccess can use any of the company's 10,000 hotspots located in airports, coffee shops, McDonald's restaurants and Barnes & Noble bookstores for free. Those with lower tier services can add unlimited WiFi access for $1.99 per month.
Connections at AT&T WiFi hot spots for non-subscribers run $7.99 per day. But iPhone users are left out of the fray, despite the fact that the device supports both EDGE and WiFi. It appears AT&T wants to de-emphasize the WiFi aspect (even though Apple CEO Steve Jobs emphasized the WiFi solution when asked about the drawback of supporting the slower EDGE network) given the fact that the carrier has disabled the WiFi capability in a host of other devices. The view of most carriers is that WiFi will cannibalize their mobile businesses.
For more about AT&T's WiFi access strategy:
- read this Wall Street Journal article (sub. req.)
- read this release