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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Free Wi-Fi, Upscale Coffee Bars at McDonald's

Free Wi-Fi, Upscale Coffee Bars at McDonald'sRonald McDonald is taking off the gloves and brewing the good grind in hopes of supplanting Starbucks as the wireless hangout of choice.
McDonald's promised last week to outfit 14,000 of its locations with upscale coffee bars accompanied by expanded Wi-Fi service as the fast-food chain inches closer to offering the wireless technology free of charge. Currently, McDonald's provides Wi-Fi service to 15,000 of its 30,000 U.S. and international locations. The service is available most often through a credit card purchase or through Internet service provider Wayport.

To help McDonald's goals, Sony Electronics announced Sunday that its Mylo COM-2 communicator users will receive free Wi-Fi service at more than 9,000 McDonald's locations. Wayport, which supplies Wi-Fi service to McDonald's restaurants, said Mylo users will be able to easily log on to the service and won't need even to enter a user name or password.

The announcement comes in the wake of McDonald's October decision to offer free Wi-Fi service at 1,200 locations in the United Kingdom. By expanding Wi-Fi service, combined with its plans to build upscale coffee bars with baristas, McDonald's is moving toward direct competition with Starbucks, which has slightly more than 13,000 U.S. locations.

A major appeal of Starbucks among laptop users has been its Wi-Fi service offered through T-Mobile. The service is available in various payment plans starting at $30 a month.

However, the latest trend is to move toward free Wi-Fi, and the Sony-Wayport-McDonald's deal is a major move in that direction.

Wayport said it will provide free service to restaurants, hotels, and retail locations for Sony's Mylo in addition to the McDonald's locations. The back-lit Sony device features a QWERTY keyboard, and its video play capability is designed to appeal particularly to younger audiences accessing YouTube and other Flash-based entertainment sites.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

McDonald's needs to concentrate on home base and forget about wifi.

My son has been trying for three weeks to put in an online application and gets part way and DIES.(And, yes, he has applied in person but that's not the point)

Not only that, their application process in not running from their own website. In the process, we get transfered to " "

Screw wifi and get your own apps to work !!!!!!!!!!

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