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Starbucks pilots wireless Internet access in shops

Coffee shop chain Starbucks has launched a pilot programme offering wireless Internet access in two of its central London...

Coffee shop chain Starbucks has launched a pilot programme offering wireless Internet access in two of its central London outlets, following the success of similar services in 1,200 stores across the US.

The service, launched last week in partnership with Hewlett-Packard and mobile operator T-Mobile, uses 802.11b wireless technology to provide high speed wireless Internet access to Starbucks customers with a wireless-ready laptop or Microsoft Pocket PC-based handheld device.

The wireless service, which is also being trialled in Germany, will be free for a promotional period in the UK, Starbucks said.

Graham Rivers, director of business development and strategy at T-Mobile, said other UK-based firms would follow Starbucks' lead.

"The T-Mobile Hotspot service at Starbucks forms an integral part of the [mobile data services] programme with further partnerships in the UK expected to follow," he said.

"Our deployment of the wireless Lan is just one of the mobile business services we will be introducing to enable seamless office functionality on the move."

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