Last week, a few iPhone users in the U.S.A reported that they were able to access Wi-Fi through their iPhones via AT&T networks for free, at some of AT&Tâ€™s hotspots. A short while later the service was turned off abruptly.
Although there had been no official announcement about the launch of such a facility by AT&T, visitors to the iPhone section of the site noticed mention of the availability of WiFi access through AT&T’s network of over 17,000 hotspots, which include Starbucks coffee shops, Barnes & Noble book stores and airports.
MacRumors.com reports that iPhone users were provided with a customized portal to enable them to access Wi-Fi services for free, by just entering their mobile number on a specially formatted page.
However, just a short while later customers who had previously used the free service, said that the service had been disconnected at the same places where it had earlier been available. Customers stated that they were now being asked to provide a username and password for the same facility that had been available for free a few days ago. AT&T’s iPhone site was also updated to remove mention of the free mobile Internet access.
While AT&T has chosen to remain silent about the issue, it is assumed that the service has been temporarily discontinued as they have not updated all their hotspots with this facility, but once that is done the service will resume. Speculation is also rife that the next iPhone version will not be tied in to a specfic operator, which would explain why AT&T sees the need to differentiate its offering and provide free WiFi to its iPhone customers as an added bonus.