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 can’t tell if the Wi-Fi users at its tables are using the T-Mobile network, from which Starbucks gets revenue, or if they’re 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 there’s a real conflict between T-Mobile and its primary landlords? Also, once enough retail chains join Peet’s Coffee and Schlotzsky’s 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.)

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