The 3G cell network is pretty quick – when you have lots of bars to connect. But, sometimes your connection to 3G is limited or you are on the slower connection. While not useful for making a phone call, a WiFi connection to the Internet for your iPhone or Touch is very fast. It is also the only way to search/buy music via your iPhone / Touch iTunes app.
Since the iPhone was first introduced, you could use a WiFi connection to the Internet at Starbucks if you were willing to pay about 30 dollars a month to TMobile. Now, AT&T has added their antennas (via an agreement of course) at Starbucks locations so you can log onto the Internet with your iPhone – at no charge!
How do you do this you ask.
The next time your at a Starbuck, select your ‘Settings’ icon. Tap the Wi-Fi option, turn on your WiFi if it isn’t already on- then choose ‘attwifi’ from the list of networks.
* Enter your 10-digit mobile number and check the box to agree to the Acceptable Use Policy. Tap ‘continue’
* You will receive a text message from AT&T with a secure link to the AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot. You will not be charged for the text message.
* The SMS link will only be valid for 24 hours at the location it was requested. Another request must be submitted when using another hotspot location.
* Open the text message and tap on the link for 24-hour access to the AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot
You can now search for music with the iPhone app iTunes. If your in some limited markets (NY is one I have tested) you will have access to what song is currently playing in the store.
If you leave that location and find yourself at another Starbucks, you will need to do the above process over again. The unlocked access doesn’t automatically transfer from one location to another.
An interesting item we noticed a short time ago. When close to a Starbucks, we were unable to reach Web sites and other Internet services. Looking along the top line of the screen, the 3G line was replaced with a WiFi level indicator. After using the AT&T free WiFi once, the iPhone / Touch keeps looking for that connection again. You will have to launch the Settings and choose to either; turn off WiFi, choose a different WiFi provider, or launch your browser to activate another AT&T WiFi connection.