AT&T Automates iPhone Login to Their WiFi Hotspots & Opens the Doors to non-Starbucks Hotspots

AT&T Wireless makes two interesting announcements in this press release related the iPhone OS 3.0 update.

The first has to do with what has been an incredibly convoluted process to authenticate an iPhone with a Starbucks WiFi Hotspot (provided by AT&T). It is so convoluted that there was a paid app named Easy Wi-Fi that automated the process for iPhone users.

AT&T Wi-Fi Supports Auto-Authentication on New iPhone OS 3.0 for Faster Hot Spot Connections

AT&T’s WiFi hotspots now works with the new iPhone OS 3.0 Auto-Authentication feature. The support of this feature should let iPhone useres switch between 3G and an AT&T WiFi Hotspot without doing anything (after the initial authentication).

The second announcement is actually hidden in the release if I understand it correctly. Up until now, iPhone users had free AT&T WiFi Hotspot access in Starbucks coffee shops in the U.S. However, I was not able to login to a non-Starbucks AT&T WiFhi Hotspot location the last time I tried about two months ago. However, this press release states: AT&T customers with qualifying iPhone data plans have unlimited access to the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network — more than 20,000 U.S. AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots. I’m interpreting as meaning iPhone users now can access any AT&T WiFi Hotspot in the U.S. I’m looking forward to seeing if I can use non-Starbucks AT&T WiFi Hotspots.