Ubiquitous caffeine conglomerate Starbucks has ended its Wi-Fi partnership with T-Mobile in favor of one with AT&T.
Under the earlier plan with T-Mobile, Starbucks customers needed a paid subscription to access the in-store Wi-Fi service, and T-Mobile HotSpot subscribers will continue to have access to Starbucks Wi-Fi thanks to an agreement between AT&T and T-Mobile. But the new AT&T plan allows all customers 2 free hours per day, with a $3.99 fee for additional 2-hour chunks of time. Monthly subscriptions will cost $19.99 and will enable access to other AT&T hot-spot locations in addition to Starbucks.
In addition, AT&T broadband customers will be able to surf at the more than 7,000 Starbucks locations in the U.S. for free. The new Wi-Fi partnership is expected to be introduced gradually at Starbucks locations this spring.
It's an understandable move on Starbucks' part; the coffee chain has a number of deals in place with Apple and its iTunes Store. Apple uses AT&T as the mobile service provider for the iPhone. Rumors of a Starbucks mobile ordering interface for the iPhone have been circulating for months.
The new partnership also extends to the business side of Starbucks: AT&T will also power an "enterprise class" network for internal operations.