-- After two false starts, AT&T is again announcing free Wi-Fi for iPhone users -- and this time, the company swears it's for real. A familiar-looking message popped up on AT&T's Web site Wednesday, stating:
"AT&T knows Wi-Fi is hot, and FREE Wi-Fi is even hotter. Which is why FREE AT&T Wi-Fi access is now available for Apple iPhone at thousands of hotspots nationwide, including Starbucks."
It's the same message visitors saw first in May, then again in July -- only in those instances, the text disappeared within hours, and without much explanation. "The Web page was posted in error and is being removed," a spokesperson stated at the time.
AT&T spokesperson Mark Siegel assures me this week's appearance is legit and intentional. He declined to comment, however, about the promotion's previously fleeting nature. (Representatives similarly avoided elaborating on the subject in July.) Some iPhone users have also started receiving official text messages discussing the new rollout, something that did not occur in the past occasions.
In addition to Starbucks, AT&T's wireless hotspots at airports, hotels, universities, and other businesses will now all be available to iPhone users free of charge. To gain access, all you have to do is activate Wi-Fi within your iPhone settings panel, select the "attwifi" network, and enter your cell phone number (with area code) when prompted. You'll then receive a text message with a link that will work for 24 hours.
Here's hoping the third time really is the charm.