Bell and Starbucks have created a partnership to Wi-Fi 400 Starbucks establishments across Canada. Announced today, the rollout will begin next week in locations around Ontario with British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan getting wired up over the next year. So what will you have to do to be able to connect over coffee?.
It appears from the press announcement that Bell will be using its Hotspot service to allow its customers to connect. If you're a Bell Mobility 1x customer you'll be able to log in. Billing will show up on your monthly Bell Mobility statements.
Starbucks is rolling out Wi-Fi, but only to Bell customers? Why not partner with a company like FatPort who makes it easy for any sized business to implement a Wi-Fi network?
I recently was in West Vancouver and needed a Wi-Fi connection. I tracked down one of FatPort's many partners, a coffee shop, and connected effortlessly in 3 minutes. You pay with credit card, it's easy, and you don't need to even have a cell phone provider to do so. You need a Wi-Fi enabled computer.
There must be more to the Bell/Starbucks relationship than meets the eye. That is, Bell provides Wi-Fi service and collects the money. Starbucks provides the coffee and appeal to draw Bell customers to their wireless enabled stores. I have to wonder is Starbucks pocketing a percentage of wireless usage fees in addition to selling more double skinny lite frappa cappuccinos? Why else would they forget about the 32 million other Canadians who might want to check email while having a coffee?