Starbucks to offer some free wireless service

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The Associated Press

SEATTLE _ Starbucks Corp. is teaming up with AT&T Inc. and will start offering a mix of free and paid wireless Internet service in many of its U.S. coffee shops, beginning this spring.

The world’s largest specialty coffee retailer’s move ends a six-year partnership T-Mobile, which did not include free Wi-Fi and charged more than the new AT&T service will cost.

Starbucks said Monday it will give customers that use its Starbucks purchase card two hours of free wireless access per day. After that, it will cost $3.99 for a two-hour session. Monthly memberships will cost $19.99 and include access to any of AT&T’s 70,000 hot spots worldwide.

Chris Bruzzo, Starbucks’ chief technology officer, would not disclose how many customers use the T-Mobile service in Starbucks stores, but said he expects many more will use the new service. Starbucks will begin rolling it out this spring and aims to have it available in its more than 7,000 company-operated domestic stores by the end of the year.