T-Mobile Sues Starbucks For Over Eager Switch To Free WiFi
from the that-wasn't-what-we-bargained-for... dept
T-Mobile has now sued Starbucks over the transition, saying that the company has gone well beyond what the two companies had agreed to. The original plan was that T-Mobile would gradually transition the network to AT&T, and the companies would work together to make sure things worked well for customers of each company. However, just recently, Starbucks pushed forward with the plan to offer some number of "free" WiFi hours to AT&T customers -- much to the annoyance of T-Mobile, who says most of the WiFi equipment in use is still T-Mobile's, and the company isn't getting paid at all for the free hours (an interesting question could be whether or not AT&T is getting paid for that usage).
Basically, the infrastructure transition has barely begun, and Starbucks is already acting as though it's complete, shifting over to the business model provided by AT&T, without having that work within the parameters of T-Mobile's model. While the legal result will almost certainly come down to contractual terms, the real issue may be that this suggests the promised "smooth transition" from T-Mobile to AT&T may not be very smooth at all. T-Mobile is going to have less and less incentive to make sure that the network really works all that well, especially if it feels that it's being cheated out of money for the use of its network.