McDonald's , AT&T Make East Coast Wi-Fi Push

from the McWiFi dept

Just weeks after expanding into San Francisco and Chicago, McDonald’s is widening their WiFi coverage in the northeast beyond their initial ten stores in Manhattan. They’re launching WiFi at another 50 restaurants around the tri-state metropolitan area (NY, NJ, Connecticut). For the next month, the service will be free, and after that it will be $2.99/day. While everyone is focusing on the expansion plans (and the fact that AT&T is now pushing this as part of their own WiFi plans) the more interesting thing is the price point. $2.99/day is less than half of what almost every other for-fee WiFi provider charges. McDonald’s even says that they’re more interested in bringing more people in as customers than making money off the WiFi. This is, of course, the way most such places offering WiFi should view it. Even if people say they have no interest in sitting in a McDonald’s with the plastic chairs and the screaming kids while checking their email, this still should provide some pricing pressure on the other for-fee hotspot providers. It won’t be long until a major chain realizes what many smaller retail establishments have already discovered and will just start offering WiFi for free as a promotional vehicle to get people to come in. Companies hoping to charge much higher fees for widespread hotspot coverage are going to find themselves priced out of business, unless they do something to change their business model.

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Comments on “McDonald's , AT&T Make East Coast Wi-Fi Push”

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Glenn says:

No Subject Given

I read a WSJ article a few weeks back about WiFi access via McD’s etc, and they said that at the NYC establishment, the WiFi connection wasn’t advertised anywhere, and it didn’t work.

After attempting to get a connection, they called the underlying carrier (I foget the name), and they were informed that the network was down and had been down for some time. It’s great to see this stuff pushed further, but it could also be a lot of useless hype.

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