AT&T is now providing free wireless Internet access to its iPhone-owning customers at the company’s hotspot locations, which include thousands of Starbucks cafes, McDonald’s restaurants, hotels, airports, and more. News of this service appeared briefly earlier in the year on AT&T’s Web site and was then taken down (see “iPhone Roundup: AT&T Wi-Fi, Out of Stock, International Carriers,” 2008-05-10). iPhone owners are also being notified by text message, so it’s not likely an inadvertent posting error this time.
AT&T’s Wi-Fi service typically costs $20 per month, but access is free for many business, DSL, and fiber customers. In participating Starbucks stores, connecting to the in-store Wi-Fi network makes a special Starbucks category appear in the iPhone’s iTunes Store app for purchasing music (which requires a Wi-Fi connection).
To use the service from an iPhone, go to the Settings app, select “attwifi” from the list of available networks, and enter your 10-digit mobile number. After agreeing to the Acceptable Use Policy, AT&T will send a free text message containing a secure link that’s valid for 24 hours at that location.