Several of my friends, who are both heavy Wi-Fi users and frequent travelers, have stopped using T-Mobile in San Francisco entirely. In every Starbucks we visit in San Francisco, less expensive networks are available. We still use T-Mobile in Starbucks cafes in Manhattan and Santa Monica, but for how long?
BOOM! I’m tellin’ you people, wireless network installing is where it’s at, if only for a brief window of time for the next year or so. Also,
[N]ow that more than one WISP is beaming Wi-Fi signal into its cafes, Starbucks cant tell if the Wi-Fi users at its tables are using the T-Mobile network, from which Starbucks gets revenue, or if theyre using some other Wi-Fi network from which Starbucks receives nothing.
If this trend spreads across the US, as Silicon Valley technology trends often do, T-Mobile may need to re-consider its Wi-Fi business model. How many of the busiest Starbucks locations need to be similarly afflicted before theres a real conflict between T-Mobile and its primary landlords? Also, once enough retail chains join Peets Coffee and Schlotzskys Deli in giving away free Wi-Fi service thereby attracting significant retail traffic away from Starbucks Starbucks might work hard to find a way to make T-Mobile, or at least some Wi-Fi access, complimentary for its customers.
(I see that Ed got to this sooner than I.)