Thursday, July 31, 2008

AT&T Teases iPhone Owners With Free Wi-Fi

AT&T Teases iPhone Owners With Free Wi-Fi -- Again
By Brian X. Chen July 18, 2008
Categories: Internet, iPhone, Our Telco Overlords

Moments after AT&T posted a message on its site saying it would provide free Wi-Fi services to iPhone users, the company took it back. And AT&T spokespeople are keeping their lips sealed as to who or what caused the "error" -- or whether free AT&T Wi-Fi is ever going to become a reality.

At approximately 9 a.m. PDT, AT&T removed the message from its site, which read, "AT&T knows Wi-Fi is hot, and free Wi-Fi even hotter, which is why we are proud to offer iPhone customers free access to the nation's largest Wi-Fi hotspot network with more than 17,000 hotspots."

"It was posted in error and was removed shortly thereafter, so it should not have been up," said Seth Bloom, an AT&T spokesperson, in a phone interview. "We know how important Wi-Fi is and we intend to make it available to as many people as we can, but nothing can be announced today."

Another AT&T representative said almost the same thing, verbatim. Clearly they were both reading from the same script.

This isn't the first time AT&T has teased iPhone users, either. In late April, iPhone users began receiving free AT&T Wi-Fi without any official announcement. Days later, that free access was no more.

Unlike in May, Friday's snafu is a bit more embarrassing for AT&T since an announcement -- official or not -- appeared in writing. It's practically irresponsible (not to mention condescending) for the company to refuse to comment on any prospects of free Wi-Fi: Why else would that message ever have been written? If it were "pushed live erroneously," doesn't that imply it'll be pushed live eventually? And if so, why don't they just tell us that?


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