After months of rumors, AT&T [NYSE:ATT] is finally making good on its promise of providing free WiFi to its iPhone customers at the company’s 17,000 hotspots nationwide. The telecom giant released a statement this week reading:
AT&T knows Wi-Fi is hot, and free Wi-Fi even hotter, which is why we are
proud to offer iPhone customers free access to the nation’s largest
Wi-Fi hotspot network with more than 17,000 hotspots, including Starbucks. Now users can relax and access music, e-mail and web
browsing services with their favorite blend in hand from the comfort of
their favorite location.
When AT&T first announced this feature in April, the company turned on the free WiFi and promptly turned it off again just a few days later. A few days after that, the company put up information on the offer on their website, and then redacted it within a week. With all that flip-flopping, it’s about time that AT&T made good on its offer, just in time for the new Apple [NASDAQ:AAPL] iPhone 3G to gain ubiquity.
Most of AT&T’s hotspots are Starbucks [NASDAQ:SBUX] locations; the company won the Starbucks WiFi contract by beating out T-Mobile back in the winter. If everything goes as planned, iPhone users should be able to open Safari, put in their AT&T wireless number, and get connected immediately for no charge. No word on whether or not it’s actually up and running yet, or whether new connection criteria have been added.
[UPDATE: AT&T has since confirmed that the posting on their website stating free WiFi would be active immediately was, in fact, a mistake. That makes twice that the company has redacted their offers of free WiFi to iPhone users — they’re certainly not getting any customer love this week.]