iPhone = Free Wi-Fi

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 01, 2008

Exclusive U.S. iPhone reseller, AT&T, is supposedly offering buyers of the Apple gadgets a really sweet deal: iPhone users can access all AT&T Wi-Fi locations for free. Strangely, when I asked AT&T to confirm this this morning, the company issued a “no comment.”

Here’s my question: Can you still access AT&T’s hotspots for free if you’d purchased an unlocked iPhone, from a carrier/company other than AT&T? Supposedly, to access AT&T hotspots, users only need to key in their iPhone numbers, so I wonder if AT&T is blocking use by non-AT&T iPhone users. Do you know what the situation is?

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Reader Comments

Steve Wildstrom

May 1, 2008 01:26 PM

My guess is that this works by sniffing the browser and if the user agent string shows Mobile Safari, you're in. That means it would work with iPhones and probably iPod Touches. It's not real hard to hack the user agent string on a laptop to misidentify your browser, so I imagine they'll find a way to shut that down.

Steve Wildstrom

May 3, 2008 08:20 PM

Engadget and Gizmodo both report that the free iPhone Wi-Fi has disappeared, at least for the moment.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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