I am sitting in Starbucks after talking with my friends. From mid of this year, Starbucks started to offer free wireless service partnering with China Mobile. (news)
Although only 80% of 120 Starbucks stores in Shanghai now provide the service, the most visited Starbucks stores have that access:
– Grand Gateway Store I
– Grand Gateway Store II
– Metro City Store
– Huashan Greenland Store.
It is not completely free. You need to have a mobile phone (not sure whether it has to be China Mobile mobile phone) to access it. You need to enter your phone number after you connect to CMCC-Starbucks wireless network, then the user name and password is SMSed to you via mobile phone. Then you can access the service on your laptop.
Very nice service!
I am happy that although Starbucks is relatively late to provide this service comparing to other players, they provided a pretty decent service by partnering with China Mobile. Other players like Coffee Bean and Tea Leaves provide the same service long time ago using their own managed Wireless hub, but the service was not stable.
It’s good for China. In the US, they don’t offer free internet in Starbucks. You need to subscribe to a ATT Wireless internet account (like $19.99 a month), then use your username and password to connect to it. The same account is usable in McDonald too. I don’t mind paying for a subscription if I can avoid the hassle of using a mobile phone to get a temporary password.
In Beijing and Shenzhen, I believe all Starbucks (at least all I’ve been to, which is a lot), offer free wifi and don’t require you to go through the process of getting a password as the network is an open one.
I didn’t know this, thanks for the info. I still like it better when you just turn on your computer and it’s connected. Quite a lot of places have this in Shanghai.
Just a clarification on US’ starbucks wifi offering: You will receive free service if you are an ATT DSL subscriber.
A few years ago, Starbucks provided the WIFI hotspot access service paternering China Telecom. They were not free, and required a access account and password, which was a card called Tian Yi Tong(天翼通) containing the account info and cost pretty much, from a Chinese consumer’s perspective.
Starbucks in a couples of other cities in China provided a free Internet access, like Guangzhou and Shenzhen. I esp. like the Shenzhen airport, they give the free WIFI access to Internet in every corner of the airport hall.
Offering free Wifi (and attracting people with laptop working in coffee shops) is a tricky question for shop owners. If too many Laptop taking all the spaces, the customers could not feel a seat may leave (lost sale for the coffee shop). Wall Street Journal ran an article about this.
That being said, we know Wifi is pretty standard in Starbucks, Panera Bread and many other coffee/bagel shops in the US. Starbucks teams with AT&T for Wifi. Panera/St. Louis Bread offers free Wifi except they have half an hour limit in the lunch hours (11 AM to 1:30 PM). AT&T iPhone users got free Wifi from AT&T. Also, Boingo Wifi ($9.95) has hot spots in most airports, many McDonald and Starbucks, a cheaper alternative to AT&T Wifi.
Unfortunately I find some people tried to connect but failed at douban. http://www.douban.com/group/topic/8829928/
You can only use the service 5 times i Starbucks, then it is cancelled by China Mobile. ie, you can only have 5 periods of access on any single SIM. No idea about the business sense in this.