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AT&T announces free Wi-Fi access for iPhone users (again)

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
After several false starts, AT&T on Wednesday began sending SMS messages to iPhone owners announcing that they can now access free of charge the carrier's nation-leading Wi-Fi network of more than 17,000 hotspots.

The text messages directed customers to this page.

"AT&T knows Wi-Fi is hot, and FREE Wi-Fi is even hotter. Which is why FREE AT&T Wi-Fi access is now available for Apple iPhoneÂ*at thousands of hotspots nationwide, including Starbucks," the company said. "Users can relax and access music, email and web browsing services with their favorite blend in hand from the comfort of their nearest 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 should follow these instructions to gain free Wi-Fi access:
Activate Wi-Fi from the settings icon on your iPhone
Select "attwifi" from the list of available networks
Enter your 10-digit mobile number and check the box to agree to the Acceptable Use Policy. Tap 'continue'
You will receive a text message from AT&T with a secure link to the AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot. You will not be charged for the text message.
The SMS link will only be valid for 24 hours at the location it was requested. Another request must be submitted when using another hotspot location.
Open the text message and tap on the link for 24-hour access to the AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot
post #2 of 39
A repetitive and redundant SMS authentication system.

Thank you, AT&T.
post #3 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by probably View Post

A repetitive and redundant SMS authentication system.

Thank you, AT&T.

Otherwise it would be free internet for all. Not that I believe the news though!
post #4 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

After several false starts, AT&T on Wednesday began sending SMS messages to iPhone owners announcing that they can now access free of charge the carrier's nation-leading Wi-Fi network of more than 17,000 hotspots.

Since I own an iPod Touch and an iPhone, can I use the iPod with wifi?

Gotta try this out at a starbucks sometime.
post #5 of 39
Can I use the WiFi with my laptop if I have an iPhone? Or is it just for iPhone browsing?
post #6 of 39
Seems like a lot of trouble to get wifi. I'd just stick with the 3g connection where I'm at. Might be worth it if in EDGE only area.
post #7 of 39
Waiting for them to cancel this in 5,4,3,... Looks like they found a way to get around the trick for using this on your notebook.
2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
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2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
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post #8 of 39
o2 have offered this since the launch of the iPhone in the UK!
post #9 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by F1Turbo View Post

Seems like a lot of trouble to get wifi. I'd just stick with the 3g connection where I'm at. Might be worth it if in EDGE only area.

Unless, of course, you're trying to download a song or large application, or surfing a graphics-intensive website. Then the WIFI connection would be greatly appreciated.
post #10 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by mactoid View Post

Unless, of course, you're trying to download a song or large application, or surfing a graphics-intensive website. Then the WIFI connection would be greatly appreciated.

Isn't Wi-Fi easier on the battery than 3G as well? (Not sure, I'm just asking)
post #11 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by r00fus View Post

Since I own an iPod Touch and an iPhone, can I use the iPod with wifi?

Gotta try this out at a starbucks sometime.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ATLienGeorgia View Post

Can I use the WiFi with my laptop if I have an iPhone? Or is it just for iPhone browsing?

Since the SMS message goes to your iPhone, and you must click a link in the message to "portal" through to the Internet, I seriously doubt you'll be able to use the connection with another device.

Although you may be able to spoof the iPhone's MAC address on your laptop, that might get you through?
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
Reply
post #12 of 39
FWIW, AT&T DSL subscribers already have free access to AT&T hot spots. You log in with your DSL password and email address. Not everyone knows that so I thought I'd mention it.
post #13 of 39
Translation:

Our weak network can't handle the iPhone traffic so please use WiFi instead!!
post #14 of 39
I'd better run to my quickest Hot-spot and grab some free Wi-fi before AT&T takes it away. . . Again.

I wonder, is it 3G or EDGE Wi-fi?
<fredarmisensferocitocharacter>I just keeeeding!</fredarmisensferocitocharacter>
post #15 of 39
Sure would be nice if Apple would include in the wifi network settings the ability to automatically log you in to these "public" wifi hotspots without you having taking all these extra steps. I hate that it connects to the hotspot and you think everything is good, when in fact you are required to go through some web proxy login page as well. unfortunately, Mail has no way of knowing this so it just spins there trying to download messages through wifi, but not able to because you haven't "authenticated" yet.

This goes against the overall seamless nature of what the iPhone is supposed to be about. Yes, 3G is much better, but when I'm in the gym and get crappy 3G coverage and they have a free wifi hotspot, i shouldn't have to go through the extra step of "logging in"through a web page to use that wifi service. Why won't someone fix this issue???



And yes, I have AT&T u-verse so this isn't a big deal to me. As nagromme mentions, already free. But I still am forced to "login" everytime. Just save this somewhere in settings and automatically log me in, please. Get it right!!!

IMHO, I wish these places would just offer actual free wifi and just throttle the bandwidth so no-one had to jump through all these hoops to use it - but that's about as likely as... well...world peace.
post #16 of 39
This new but old service from AT&T isn't yet in Starbucks in Hawaii. Hawaii Starbucks still use and advertise T-Mobile's service.

Yes, Starbucks stores here are corporate-owned, so there isn't a franchising issue. When they will switch to AT&T is yet to be determined. There is also a benefit to Starbucks Card users who register their cards at starbucks.com for 2 free hours per day if they use their card once a month.

Oh well...I won't believe it until I see it...
post #17 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by williado21 View Post

This new but old service from AT&T isn't yet in Starbucks in Hawaii. Hawaii Starbucks still use and advertise T-Mobile's service.

The Starbuck's down the street from me actually has both, AT&T and T-Mobile... and the funny thing is, I can connect to 'attwifi' without going through all hoops mentioned in the article. (Unless of course they've updated it since I last used it.)
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #18 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacChad View Post

This goes against the overall seamless nature of what the iPhone is supposed to be about. Yes, 3G is much better, but when I'm in the gym and get crappy 3G coverage and they have a free wifi hotspot, i shouldn't have to go through the extra step of "logging in"through a web page to use that wifi service. Why won't someone fix this issue???

It's not a fixable problem.

The only way the hotspot could identify your iPhone as an iPhone is through its MAC address. However, anybody with a small amount of technical knowhow can change their laptop/non-iPhone phone/whatever to clone their iPhone's MAC address. Doing the SMS authentication will at least guarantee that an iPhone was present at the time the request was made.
post #19 of 39
could you not copy the link (painstaking, i know) into the safari/FF on your computer?
post #20 of 39
Just tried it and it works as advertised. The text message link is a great idea. Its much nicer to hit the secure link than having to enter a user name and password.
post #21 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by mactoid View Post

Unless, of course, you're trying to download a song or large application, or surfing a graphics-intensive website. Then the WIFI connection would be greatly appreciated.

that's true, but if you're browsing on your phone, you're not likely to hang out at Starbucks for a long time. If I'm gonna actually stick around, I'll bring my laptop.

If I'm using my phone, I'm probably just looking up directions, news items, or something like that. It's quicker to just go through 3G and not go through this process.
post #22 of 39
Has anyone actually received this SMS announcement? I don't know anyone with an iPhone that has.
post #23 of 39
AT&T should create an iPhone app to help locate hotspots (preferrably with a cached database incase 3G/EDGE is acting odd) and auto-activate to the hotspots without going through the whole click here SMS there mess.
post #24 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by djpadz View Post

It's not a fixable problem.

The only way the hotspot could identify your iPhone as an iPhone is through its MAC address. However, anybody with a small amount of technical knowhow can change their laptop/non-iPhone phone/whatever to clone their iPhone's MAC address. Doing the SMS authentication will at least guarantee that an iPhone was present at the time the request was made.

As I mentioned in another post, if AT&T created an app for the iPhone, the app could do a challenge-response authentication through the hotspot. This would remove any need for an SMS. The app would only run on the iPhone, so you don't have to worry about a laptop impersonating a phone.
post #25 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by -cj- View Post

Has anyone actually received this SMS announcement? I don't know anyone with an iPhone that has.

I received mine about an hour before you sent this message, so it should be hitting your device soon...
post #26 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by djpadz View Post

It's not a fixable problem.

The only way the hotspot could identify your iPhone as an iPhone is through its MAC address. However, anybody with a small amount of technical knowhow can change their laptop/non-iPhone phone/whatever to clone their iPhone's MAC address. Doing the SMS authentication will at least guarantee that an iPhone was present at the time the request was made.

I am not asking for the authentication scheme to be done away with. I'm asking for a way that the iphone does it in the background with username/pwd information stored in settings. Yes, this is actually different than what this thread/article is about. I just saw this as a platform for expressing that this is a wifi problem that feels solvable by Apple/AT&T in some way that is not as kludgey as this method (or the one I've described as well).

As a side note, this is a problem that exists for laptops and other wifi devices too. If I try to navigate with my laptop on an attwifi hotspot, I am forced to open a browser window first and authenticate, and then I have internet/network access.
post #27 of 39
I got a notification of this feature via an unsolicited text message today. iPhone 1G

Sheldon
post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

After several false starts, AT&T on Wednesday began sending SMS messages to iPhone owners announcing that they can now access free of charge the carrier's nation-leading Wi-Fi network of more than 17,000 hotspots.

The text messages directed customers to this page.

"AT&T knows Wi-Fi is hot, and FREE Wi-Fi is even hotter. Which is why FREE AT&T Wi-Fi access is now available for Apple iPhone*at thousands of hotspots nationwide, including Starbucks," the company said. "Users can relax and access music, email and web browsing services with their favorite blend in hand from the comfort of their nearest 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 should follow these instructions to gain free Wi-Fi access:
Activate Wi-Fi from the settings icon on your iPhone
Select "attwifi" from the list of available networks
Enter your 10-digit mobile number and check the box to agree to the Acceptable Use Policy. Tap 'continue'
You will receive a text message from AT&T with a secure link to the AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot. You will not be charged for the text message.
The SMS link will only be valid for 24 hours at the location it was requested. Another request must be submitted when using another hotspot location.
Open the text message and tap on the link for 24-hour access to the AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot


I tried it this afternoon and it works as promised! Choose ATT wifi network and open Safari and click on any web site>this brings up the ATT login page> type your phone # and agree to terms. Click OK. A text message is sent to your iPhone with a clickable link. Tapping the link opens Safari and completes the process. It says you can surf for 24 hours before having to repeat the process.

Thanks ATT!
post #29 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by -cj- View Post

Has anyone actually received this SMS announcement? I don't know anyone with an iPhone that has.

I received mine about an hour ago. (1:00pm PT)
post #30 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by williado21 View Post

This new but old service from AT&T isn't yet in Starbucks in Hawaii. Hawaii Starbucks still use and advertise T-Mobile's service.

Yes, Starbucks stores here are corporate-owned, so there isn't a franchising issue. When they will switch to AT&T is yet to be determined. There is also a benefit to Starbucks Card users who register their cards at starbucks.com for 2 free hours per day if they use their card once a month.

Oh well...I won't believe it until I see it...

What I'm curious about is whether Starbucks will still use T-Mobile for it's WiFi Music Store.

Just two months ago, I was in my Starbucks (Massapequa, NY) and they had both AT&T running, on which I could get 2 free hours (having a Starbucks reward card), and T-Mobile which I would have to switch to in order to access the Starbucks Music Store badge on my iPhone ..
post #31 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by djames42 View Post

I received mine about an hour before you sent this message, so it should be hitting your device soon...

I live here in Seattle, too, but I haven't gotten a txt from AT&T yet. I tried using the service at my nearby SBUX, but I get a response saying that it cant verify my number. Maybe because I ported my number from T-Mobile. Anybody else have this happen to them?
post #32 of 39
thats awesome
http://www.freeipodtouchoffer.com/de...aspx?r=1220231 free ipod touch sign up do 1 credit card offer or do 3 free ones and refer seven people to complete 1 offer then you can get 275 paypal or a touch
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http://www.freeipodtouchoffer.com/de...aspx?r=1220231 free ipod touch sign up do 1 credit card offer or do 3 free ones and refer seven people to complete 1 offer then you can get 275 paypal or a touch
Reply
post #33 of 39
Yawn. Let me know if/when it actually works around the country, and they haven't pulled it because it does.
post #34 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by zenwaves View Post

What I'm curious about is whether Starbucks will still use T-Mobile for it's WiFi Music Store.

Just two months ago, I was in my Starbucks (Massapequa, NY) and they had both AT&T running, on which I could get 2 free hours (having a Starbucks reward card), and T-Mobile which I would have to switch to in order to access the Starbucks Music Store badge on my iPhone ..

I wonder why the 2 free hours per day offer is not more widely noticed. You get a Starbucks reward card, register it online and that allows you two free hours per day on your iPhone, iPod touch, MacBook or any other device with a web browser. Is more than two hours really so crucial? You can also have more than one device connected at the same time.

Free ubiquitous 24/7 802.11n access without any authorization would be pleasant but I'm quite happy with the reward card deal. You even get free refills for your coffee. (No, I don't work for Starbucks but I am taking advantage of this offer).
post #35 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by -cj- View Post

Has anyone actually received this SMS announcement? I don't know anyone with an iPhone that has.


Yes! I received my text about it from AT&T at around 8pm almost 10 hrs After the story was published... The text made a believer out of me. I think it's here to stay... Ihave a lot of hotspots near my area.
post #36 of 39
I've found I can wheel into the parking lot of nearly any major chain motel and get free WiFi from the comfort of my car.

I suspect if you go during "breakfast" hours, you could wander in and help yourself to free food and beverages as well. I'm keeping that in the back of my mind if the economy tanks.
post #37 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel0418 View Post

Yes! I received my text about it from AT&T at around 8pm almost 10 hrs After the story was published... The text made a believer out of me. I think it's here to stay... Ihave a lot of hotspots near my area.

Got my text at about 10:30 am Central today. Traveling tomorrow for about 17 days so I look forward to the test drive!
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post #38 of 39
it's about time they offer the wifi free. they've been talking about it forever; let's see if this time it works.

www.masoniblog.blogspot.com

Masoni
Macs: MacBook, black, 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
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Macs: MacBook, black, 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
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post #39 of 39
i did, too

masoni
Macs: MacBook, black, 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
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