Free AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots for iPhone still unofficial

AT&T "officially" posted information about free Wi-Fi hotspot access for its iPhone customers on Thursday, and summarily removed it.

In February, Starbucks and Barnes and Noble stores dispatched the six-year partnership with T-Mobile for Wi-Fi hotspots in favor of AT&T. In addition to the free access given to AT&T broadband subscribers, iPhone users were reportedly going to be granted the ability to use the AT&T-provided hotspots for free.

Before AT&T could officially announce it, users had already found some Starbucks and Barnes and Noble locations included both T-Mobile and AT&T access points, the latter of which could be freely accessed by any iPhone user simply by entering his phone number on the custom gateway page. Only days later, this access was shut down.

There was speculation that the access had been prematurely cut off because obtaining unauthorized entry was far too easy. To get in, a user simply had to reset the User Agent string of his browser, and then enter a registered iPhone number.
This meant practically anyone with a laptop and a friend with an iPhone number could hop on.

On Thursday, AT&T both addded, and then promptly removed, information about this free hotspot access from its site. It had said that all iPhone subscriber plans included "access to AT&T's more than 17,000 Wi-Fi hot spots, including Starbucks* all for use in the U.S. *Wi-Fi available at U.S. company operated Starbucks locations equipped with a hot spot."

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