or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › AT&T offers iPhone owners free access to 17,000 WiFi hotspots
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

AT&T offers iPhone owners free access to 17,000 WiFi hotspots

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
After months of confusion and a couple of false starts, AT&T formally announced Friday that iPhone owners in the United States can now access free of charge its nation-leading Wi-Fi network comprised of more than 17,000 hotspots.

"AT&T knows Wi-Fi is hot, and free Wi-Fi even hotter, which is why we are proud to offer iPhone customers free access to the nation's largest Wi-Fi hotspot network with more than 17,000 hotspots, including Starbucks," the company said. "Now users can relax and access music, e-mail and web browsing services with their favorite blend in hand from the comfort of their favorite location."

Of those 17,000 hotspots, more than 8000 are located in restaurants or Starbucks locations, 700+ in bookstores, and another 50+ can be found in supermarkets. The network is also accessible at 12 airports, 31 hotels, 23 universities, 18 convention centers, and 5 sport complexes.

iPhone owners can use this link to locate AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots in cafés, bookstores, airports, hotels, and universities, or this link to find their nearest Starbucks location.

Once in range of an AT&T hotspot, iPhone users simply need to attempt to access any webpage via their handset's built-in Safari web browser. This will trigger an AT&T "Get Connected Now" login page that will ask users to input their iPhone's mobile number and agree to a set of terms of service before granting access.



Update: AT&T clearly does not have its act together when it comes to this offering and has for fourth time changed its mind. Around noon Eastern time, the company pulled the latest announcement from which this report was based, citing yet another error on the part of its employees by posting the announcement.
post #2 of 47
Would this work for iPhone users laptops as well?
Progress is a comfortable disease
--e.e.c.
Reply
Progress is a comfortable disease
--e.e.c.
Reply
post #3 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

Would this work for iPhone users laptops as well?

Only if you subscribe to AT&T internet services (thru AT&T Yahoo DSL or Uverse) I believe.

By the way, I've been using this for months at area Starbuck's, didn't realize there were problems with the rollout.
post #4 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

Would this work for iPhone users laptops as well?

based on the criteria seen here, I don't see why not
post #5 of 47
Sounds like an AT&T ploy to get you use to it/sell more contracts and then start charging for it. Who are we kidding here?
post #6 of 47
AT&T has taken this down and called it another error. They need to make up their minds.
post #7 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by montypython View Post

I think it might. Am excited to try this weekend. What you need to do is identify your browser (Safari) as an iPhone and then use you number to log in. This worked when this service was rolled out under the radar a couple months ago. Hopefully it will work again.

How would one go about doing this? Care to elaborate?
post #8 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

AT&T has taken this down and called it another error. They need to make up their minds.

Yeah -- this is really getting ridiculous on their part.

Sorry about this guys, the announcement was up when we went to press.

Best,

K
EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
Reply
EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
Reply
post #9 of 47
Sounds more like a stipulated agreement between Apple and ATT to offer this service for the iphone. I don't it's a coincidence that the UK is providing the free wifi to iphone users as well.
After 3 netbooks from acer, toshiba, hp, I find contentment in my 11.6 MB Air. Hoping the 8-hr battery version shows up soon.
Reply
After 3 netbooks from acer, toshiba, hp, I find contentment in my 11.6 MB Air. Hoping the 8-hr battery version shows up soon.
Reply
post #10 of 47
I used to think at&t worked closely with the Bush administration. Now I'm convinced THEY ARE THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION!
2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
Reply
2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
Reply
post #11 of 47
AT&T has been providing WiFi at Starbuck's for over 4 months now, and frankly this has been working for me ever since. I've used it at 3 different Starbuck's locations without a problem. So are some metro areas functioning and others not?
post #12 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by nefrocatracho View Post

AT&T has been providing WiFi at Starbuck's for over 4 months now, and frankly this has been working for me ever since. I've used it at 3 different Starbuck's locations without a problem. So are some metro areas functioning and others not?

Not sure how you've been using wi-fi at Starbucks, but AT&T DSL customers have had free wi-fi at AT&T hotspots for over a year. The current issue concerns free AT&T wi-fi for iPhone customers, independently of whether they have AT&T DSL.
post #13 of 47
Will this work for iPhones from other countries? Say I was visiting the U.S. from Canada with my iPhone....??
post #14 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Not sure how you've been using wi-fi at Starbucks, but AT&T DSL customers have had free wi-fi at AT&T hotspots for over a year. The current issue concerns free AT&T wi-fi for iPhone customers, independently of whether they have AT&T DSL.

Well, I've been connecting my laptop at Starbuck's as you said without a problem (yes I am an AT&T DSL customer). Regarding the iPhone, though, it gives me a screen exactly like those in the screen shots for the iPhone specific login. I use my wireless number in this case and, as I said, have connected without a problem. I'll try again later today, maybe I am connecting thru my DSL account.
post #15 of 47
whats the big deal with this? with the data plan you get Internet any way
post #16 of 47
The full list of Starbucks stores that are closing is available here:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1216...googlenews_wsj

AT&T should be embarrassed by this whole iPhone WiFi pile of misinformation. Totally.
post #17 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

The full list of Starbucks stores that are closing is available here:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1216...googlenews_wsj

Available? Don't forget the $89 subscription fee...
Progress is a comfortable disease
--e.e.c.
Reply
Progress is a comfortable disease
--e.e.c.
Reply
post #18 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by fortmajor View Post

whats the big deal with this? with the data plan you get Internet any way

WiFi is faster...
Progress is a comfortable disease
--e.e.c.
Reply
Progress is a comfortable disease
--e.e.c.
Reply
post #19 of 47
This is beginning to remind me of an old skit on the "We're All Bozos On This Bus" album by the Firesign Theatre.

In the skit, and hologram version of Richard Nixon is asked a simple question. The resulting "Yes!", "No!", "Yes!", "No!" responses are hilarious.

So just remember iPhone 3G owners...

We're All Bozos On This Bus
Pity the agnostic dyslectic. They spend all their time contemplating the existence of dog.
Reply
Pity the agnostic dyslectic. They spend all their time contemplating the existence of dog.
Reply
post #20 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

The full list of Starbucks stores that are closing is available here:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1216...googlenews_wsj

AT&T should be embarrassed by this whole iPhone WiFi pile of misinformation. Totally.

can you post the list?..as this is not available to non-WSJ subscribers
post #21 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by herdthinner99 View Post

can you post the list?..as this is not available to non-WSJ subscribers

http://www.starbucks.com/aboutus/USStoreClosureInfo.pdf
post #22 of 47
Here's how to get a screen shot on the iPhone:

Push and hold the round home button and while pressing it, momentarily press the lock switch and the screen will briefly flash white.



In the camera roll will be a screen shot which gets uploaded with the rest of the pictures.

AFAIK this works on iPod touch as well.
post #23 of 47
<Update: AT&T clearly does not have its act together when it comes to this offering and has for fourth time changed its mind. Around...>

once again, att aka dark star, once again proves that they are totally clueless what they are actually doing. if it was not for their semi-monopoly and cozy relationship with NSA and CIA they would have gone under a long time ago.
post #24 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by amerist View Post

Here's how to get a screen shot on the iPhone:

Push and hold the round home button and while pressing it, momentarily press the lock switch and the screen will briefly flash white.



In the camera roll will be a screen shot which gets uploaded with the rest of the pictures.

AFAIK this works on iPod touch as well.

Cool!
post #25 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

WiFi is faster...

It also uses considerably less juice than EDGE or HSDPA.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Funky Chicken View Post

Will this work for iPhones from other countries? Say I was visiting the U.S. from Canada with my iPhone....??

As of right now, you'd get the web portal on your iPhone but you'd have to have an AT&T number. Probably one tied to an iPhone.


Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Sounds like an AT&T ploy to get you use to it/sell more contracts and then start charging for it. Who are we kidding here?

You are always so negative. It financially behooves AT&T to get as many iPhone data users off the cell towers and onto WiFi hotspots.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #26 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by palex9 View Post

<Update: AT&T clearly does not have its act together when it comes to this offering and has for fourth time changed its mind. Around...>

once again, att aka dark star, once again proves that they are totally clueless what they are actually doing. if it was not for their semi-monopoly and cozy relationship with NSA and CIA they would have gone under a long time ago.

Arguably the original AT&T no longer exists...it was purchased by SBC...one of the original baby bells (RBOCs) that bought out three more baby bells (Pacific Telesis, Ameritech and Bell South).

SBC aka the new AT&T, Incorporated now controls 11 of 22 of the original Bell Operating Companies that was the original Darkstar AT&T Corporation.

Verizon and Quest are the only other two RBOCs to survive.

But hating on Southwestern Bell is not nearly as amusing as hating on AT&T.
post #27 of 47
I would like to get an iPhone WITHOUT the data plan, especially if it will work with wireless hotspots. Is that possible?
post #28 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by hledgard View Post

I would like to get an iPhone WITHOUT the data plan, especially if it will work with wireless hotspots. Is that possible?

1) Buy an original or 3G iPhone for full price, unlock it and switch your GSM SIM into it.

2) Keep your current phone and buy an iPod Touch.

Note: This will not give you FREE access to AT&T WiFi hotspots.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #29 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

AT&T has taken this down and called it another error. They need to make up their minds.

I don't understand this either. It seems like it is as if they forgot to get everyone to sign off on it before promoting it, and they have someone heading up this project that has a habit of forgetting to do this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

WiFi is faster...

Not hugely faster than 3G mode, though as noted, it is far better for power consumption than even EDGE.

Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Sounds like an AT&T ploy to get you use to it/sell more contracts and then start charging for it. Who are we kidding here?

Would that succeed in getting people to pay? Even with higher power consumption, I'd much rather use the unlimited 3G/EDGE that I'm already paying for rather than pay even more for hotspot access. For the ten extra seconds on the demo page, I'd rather not spend the extra money. As it is, I wonder if hotspot access is cheaper for them to provide than cellular data.
post #30 of 47
Let's call them for what they are: A very disorganized, inept company with a bunch of buffoons at the top--and bottom--and everywhere in between.

You don't see other companies--namely, Apple--making these mistakes.

"Sorry, we prematurely announced the iTablet. A janitor at one of our Apple Stores is to blame," said an indignant Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO.

Calling AT&T right now to cancel my service. Written words on a forum don't do anything if it's not followed by an equal action.

Do the same if you think they suck so bad, instead of just displaying your ability to spit diatribe and "argue on the Internet."
post #31 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

It also uses considerably less juice than EDGE or HSDPA.

I wasn't aware of this, but 'm glad to hear it. I'm going to have to assume that while UMTS/HSPA and 802.11 chipsets probably require similar amounts of energy to encode/decode data, the ~1900mhz UMTS signal has a much larger distance to travel than the ~2400mhz WiFi signal. It will be interesting to see how 4G/LTE will affect battery life in future iPhones.


Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

You are always so negative. It financially behooves AT&T to get as many iPhone data users off the cell towers and onto WiFi hotspots.

Precisely. People shouldn't see this as some great altruism on AT&T's behalf. It probably helps reduce peak load to towers in popular areas. Much cheaper than upgrading tower capacity --- just offload people onto local WLANs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hledgard View Post

I would like to get an iPhone WITHOUT the data plan, especially if it will work with wireless hotspots. Is that possible?

You mean "work with wireless hotspots" as in FREE, right? No way AT&T would give you free WiFi access at their hotspot locations without buying a data plan. However, if you have home AT&T DSL, you could get on for free.

An a related note, anyone know if you can sign up for iPhone 3G and then remove the data package after the first month like the original iphone?



Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I don't understand this either. It seems like it is as if they forgot to get everyone to sign off on it before promoting it, and they have someone heading up this project that has a habit of forgetting to do this.

Would that succeed in getting people to pay? Even with higher power consumption, I'd much rather use the unlimited 3G/EDGE that I'm already paying for rather than pay even more for hotspot access. For the ten extra seconds on the demo page, I'd rather not spend the extra money. As it is, I wonder if hotspot access is cheaper for them to provide than cellular data.

Yeah, someone is really screwing this up bad. I mean for god sakes, once or MAYBE even twice is understandable, but 3-5 times???

And I agree -- no way would they charge for WiFi access (for the iPhone) when they are already giving you unlimited 3G data. It most likely actually is cheaper for them to do so to reduce tower load.
post #32 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

Let's call them for what they are: A very disorganized, inept company with a bunch of buffoons at the top--and bottom--and everywhere in between.

You don't see other companies--namely, Apple--making these mistakes.

"Sorry, we prematurely announced the iTablet. A janitor at one of our Apple Stores is to blame," said an indignant Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO.

Calling AT&T right now to cancel my service. Written words on a forum don't do anything if it's not followed by an equal action.

Do the same if you think they suck so bad, instead of just displaying your ability to spit diatribe and "argue on the Internet."

I agree, but I also believe a lot of it has to do with the fact that the current "AT&T" is mish-mashed hodgepodge of random elements from a dozen earlier companies all held together with duck tape. Unfortunately, all the "bells" have almost re-combined back into the monopoly that was broken up decades ago! With all the acquisitions and mergers that make up today's AT&T, I'm sure the internal environment and political atmosphere is a mess, not to mention all the technical divisions and logistics.
post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

I wasn't aware of this, but 'm glad to hear it. I'm going to have to assume that while UMTS/HSPA and 802.11 chipsets probably require similar amounts of energy to encode/decode data, the ~1900mhz UMTS signal has a much larger distance to travel than the ~2400mhz WiFi signal. It will be interesting to see how 4G/LTE will affect battery life in future iPhones.

The chip is much smaller and more energy efficient. I presume it's also cheaper, not even including the Qualcomm licensing fees.

Here are some stats from AnandTech from the the original iPhone the new iPhone. This time he does a very extensive technical review. I'm surprised someone of your technical background isn't already reading his site. a lot of it is about graphics/gaming; something I have no no knowledge or interest in, but there is plenty of other stuff. He's also getting more and more despondency from his readers as he has moved to Mac a few years ago.

http://www.anandtech.com/gadgets/sho...px?i=3358&p=18
http://www.anandtech.com/gadgets/showdoc.aspx?i=3036





iPhone (left): Purple is EDGE, Green is WiFi — Blackjack (right): Red is HSDPA
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #34 of 47
On the wireless hotspots, if I get an iPhone 3G and use it for a phone without the data plan, can I walk into Starbucks or Panera and use the Internet?

What about my own wireless home network?

Even further, can I use MobileMe?

Thanks!
post #35 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post



You are always so negative. It financially behooves AT&T to get as many iPhone data users off the cell towers and onto WiFi hotspots.

Let me get this right- You state that you're paying for use of the cell tower and AT&T wants you off it and you don't mind.- I question that policy and that makes me negative?
Sorry but I think that kind of reasoning defines you as a reckless spender.
post #36 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Let me get this right- You state that you're paying for use of the cell tower and AT&T wants you off it and you don't mind.- I question that policy and that makes me negative?
Sorry but I think that kind of reasoning defines you as a reckless spender.

I don't think you have it right. Solipsism wasn't suggesting that the users pay money for the WiFi, but rather, that it would be in AT&T's best interest to offer the free hotspot access to their mobile phone subscribers.
post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Let me get this right- You state that you're paying for use of the cell tower and AT&T wants you off it and you don't mind.- I question that policy and that makes me negative?
Sorry but I think that kind of reasoning defines you as a reckless spender.

Of course they want me off of it. Companies offering a service would prefer you pay for the service and never have to use it. AAA is a prime example. The $50/year I spend more than pays for itself if I use it 3x for a tow.

I don't mind mind that AT&T wants to give me an internet access option that is as fast or faster and uses considerably less power than 3G. Do I care that it costs AT&T less money to do this? Of course not. It's a value added, a form of redundancy, and may make cell data bandwidth better for me if thre are people using their WiFi instead of their cell network. This benefits AT&T and their customers. Win/Win!
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #38 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Of course they want me off of it. Companies offering a service would prefer you pay for the service and never have to use it. AAA is a prime example. The $50/year I spend more than pays for itself if I use it 3x for a tow.

I don't mind mind that AT&T wants to give me an internet access option that is as fast or faster and uses considerably less power than 3G. Do I care that it costs AT&T less money to do this? Of course not. It's a value added, a form of redundancy, and may make cell data bandwidth better for me if thre are people using their WiFi instead of their cell network. This benefits AT&T and their customers. Win/Win!

And if AT&T then decides to cease it and charge you for it then what would you do-pay more for it to conserve your battery or complain about it?
Then it's Win/Loose
post #39 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

And if AT&T then decides to cease it and charge you for it then what would you do-pay more for it to conserve your battery or complain about it?

I'd I wouldn't do either. I am do not frequent areas with their WiFi hotspots enough to warrant the charge, but I wouldn't complain about it either. I'd just say that AT&T has fracked up again. While this on again off again snafu makes me think they could later decide to charge for it I am certain they would later recant that policy and give it away for free for the reasons detailed above. It's in everyone's best interest.

PS: Their current system of typing in your iPhone is a pathetic system. Any device that can spoof a mobile Safari browser can use it. If you don't have an iPhone you probably know someone with one on AT&T; just type their phone number in and your good to go.

They have a couple possibilities to prevent this from happening...

— They can use your WiFi's Mac which they record at the time of activation which is cross referenced with a DB that then allows you to log on. Of course, MAC addresses are just the SW version of the BIA so they can be spoofed, but that requires more savvy.

-and/or-

— When you input your phone number into the login screen it sends you an SMS which contains a URL or a PIN. This means that the person with the phone would have to be present or aware of what is transpiring. Again, this requires more work so less likely to be abused.
edit:
Quote:
Then it's Win/Loose

Then it's Lose/Lose. There will more users bogging down AT&T expensive network which will require more frequent bandwidth upgrades or risk upsetting customers, which is never good for business.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #40 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by hledgard View Post

I would like to get an iPhone WITHOUT the data plan, especially if it will work with wireless hotspots. Is that possible?

No. See here.

Nor can you buy a 3G iPhone as suggested, not without signing a 2 year contract on the spot and that contract comes with a data plan automatically. Getting an original iPhone and then hacking it would be possible, but why go through that trouble and cost to then not have a fully functional iPhone?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPhone
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › AT&T offers iPhone owners free access to 17,000 WiFi hotspots