McDonald's, Toshiba Roll Out Hotspots in Chicago

Continuing their push to test out different hotspot providers, McDonald’s and Toshiba made the announcement that they’re now offering WiFi at McDonald’s restaurants in the Chicago area. Definitely an interesting strategy by McDonald’s to go with three different providers (Cometa, Wayport and Toshiba) to see how good they are, rather than just signing an exclusive deal on the promises of one company. It will be especially interesting to see what happens after the “test phase” is over. The Chicago plan seems to be priced similarly (though, not identically) to the NY plan – which apparently had mixed success. That is, if you buy some food, you get an hour free. I still think this is the smartest pricing plan for such a place. They don’t want people hanging around too long without buying more food, but they still want the attraction of “free WiFi”. Of course, in NY, the results weren’t so great. However, that might just be a function of the “why would I want to sit in McDonald’s and surf while screaming kids are running around?” mentality. Anyway, Alan Reiter has plenty more details on his site about the Toshiba/McDonald’s trials.

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