A Cup of Broken Wifi: Shamebucks

Below is a list of Starbucks that don’t provide the promised “two free hours of Wifi“, at least as measured by me and other customers I’ve approached in the last 2 months. 

  • Harvard Square (Garage)
  • Andover street in Peabody, MA
  • Memorial Drive, Cambridge
  • Church Street, Harvard Square

In these locations, connecting to the “attwifi” SSID hangs and does not allow the user to log in. (An IP is issued, but no page ultimately loads.) Furthermore, in these locations, connecting to the tmobile SSID and logging into the ATT network as a roaming account also results in the same behavior. I usually ask around the coffee shop and learn that those who are connected are using tmobile, not attwifi. 

I’m going to give Starbucks the benefit of the doubt for now that its just a few locations experiencing difficulties, but frankly, since ~June 20th, I’ve yet to find a Starbucks where this DOES work. Is this just me? Any other experiences to share?

What curious to me is that this makes no sense from a business perspective. This marketing move would seem to be a good one for both companies. Starbucks needs to keep people coming (and staying) in its shops as the economy softens.  AT&T gets to broaden its network’s footprint, and potentially ease the load from its 3G/2.5G networks. AT&T and T-Mobile are still at that precious point in time where, as Prof. Robert Pindyck would say, they are competing FOR the market, not in the market, so an effective attrition strategy would be in AT&T’s best interest. 

Have any more Starbucks locations to add? Let me know in the comments!