By Ed Oswald | Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 2:00 pm
Soon the Golden Arches will become the spot to go if you wanna grab a bite to eat and check your e-mail for free: McDonald’s plans to drop its free for using Wi-Fi in 11,000 of its 14,000 US locations. Previously, two hours of access set the customer back $2.95.
I gotta say it: I’m loving it.
The change is part of an effort to continue drawing in a wider customer base. Part of it could have to do with its efforts in gourmet coffee — the McCafe offering has more than doubled sales of coffee and now is five percent of its overall sales.
Free Wi-Fi is something that can be found in many local coffeeshops, and certainly the two have almost become synonymous with one another. Starbucks charges a fee for access, but is one of the few that still do.
As McDonald’s remakes itself into more of a destination rather than a quick stop for a bite to eat, company officials say they don’t mind adding services that keep customers in stores longer. There will be no time limits on wireless access, the company said.
Both Starbucks and McDonald’s partner with AT&T to run their Wi-Fi offerings.