Coffee chain Starbucks’ well-publicised woes, which include plans to shut down almost three quarters of its Australian stores, are also going to impact the Australian Wi-Fi scene. Liam Tung at ZDNet ran the numbers and worked out that Canberra won’t have any Starbucks’ Wi-Fi hotspots left, while the fate of stores in other states is uncertain. The Wi-Fi at Starbucks is provided by Telstra (and hence comes at a cost), but wireless access has always been a selling point of the Starbucks coffee/office experience. (Rival Gloria Jeans, a much bigger presence in the Australian market, partners with Optus for Wi-Fi.)
While the disappearance of those stores won’t massively undermine the Telstra Wi-Fi footprint – McDonald’s and Telstra’s CBD systems in Sydney and Melbourne are much more important it’s potentially a major nuisance if you’ve come to rely on the option being around when you need to get some quick access on the road. It’s also bad news for anyone who bought an iPhone from Telstra and planned to make extensive use of the free Wi-Fi option to help offset Telstra’s painfully expensive plans.
Aussie Wi-Fi lost with Starbucks’ stores [ZDNet Australia]