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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    A repetitive and redundant SMS authentication system.



    Thank you, AT&T.
  • Reply 2 of 38
    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!
  • Reply 3 of 38
    r00fusr00fus Posts: 245member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 38
    Can I use the WiFi with my laptop if I have an iPhone? Or is it just for iPhone browsing?
  • Reply 5 of 38
    f1turbof1turbo Posts: 246member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 38
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 38
    o2 have offered this since the launch of the iPhone in the UK!
  • Reply 8 of 38
    mactoidmactoid Posts: 112member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 38
    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)
  • Reply 10 of 38
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,777member
    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?
  • Reply 11 of 38
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 38
    l008coml008com Posts: 163member
    Translation:



    Our weak network can't handle the iPhone traffic so please use WiFi instead!!
  • Reply 13 of 38
    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>
  • Reply 14 of 38
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 38
    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...
  • Reply 16 of 38
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,777member
    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.)
  • Reply 17 of 38
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 38
    could you not copy the link (painstaking, i know) into the safari/FF on your computer?
  • Reply 19 of 38
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 38
    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.
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