Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12/15/pret_a_manger_free_wifi/

Pret customers get free Wi-Fi

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Starbucks

By Kelly Fiveash

Posted in Networks, 15th December 2008 16:28 GMT

Sandwich maker Pret A Manger has begun offering free wireless internet access to its customers.

The sarnie seller said it has already activated the service in 60 of its Blighty stores and plans to roll out free Wi-Fi access to another 70 outlets over the coming week.

UK wireless web service provider The Cloud struck a five-year deal (financial terms of which were kept secret) with Pret to connect its wireless service in-store.

While smaller, independent cafes and sandwich shops are more likely to offer free Wi-Fi to get customers through the door, larger food retailers have tended to be more reluctant to offer such a service.

Caffè Nero, for example, offers a wireless service in-store that’s provided by BT Openzone, but it doesn’t come cheap. Customers can expect to cough up around £5 for an hour’s surfing while gulping down their Orange Mocha Frappuccinos.

Similarly, Starbucks also squeezes out a few fast bucks pounds from the Wi-Fi service it offers through T-Mobile in its outlets.

But it’s unclear at this stage how much cash Pret will actually rake in from what it is doubtless hoping will be a stampede of people clamouring for free Wi-Fi with their egg mayo sarnies and cups of chai.

Here's a hint, though: Burger flipper McDonalds, which owns a 33 per cent stake in Pret, struck a similar deal with The Cloud last year, pitting itself against Starbucks' pay-as-you-go T-Mobile service for High Street internet supremacy. ®