When McDonald’s restaurants completes the roll out of its free wifi service across all its 1,200 UK restaurants later this year, it will become the country’s biggest provider of free wireless broadband internet access.
While there’s no reference to this news on any McDonald’s website – no press release, nothing – lots of media reporting provides the details.
I watched McDonald’s UK CEO Steve Easterbrook speak on Jeff Randall’s business show on Sky News on Monday night. He said you’ll be able to go into any McDonald’s and use the wifi with no obligation to even buy anything in the restaurant (although he hopes you will).
I think it’s a pretty compelling deal to drive consumers into McDonald’s. While you’re there, you’re likely to buy something.
Not only laptop-using consumers will think this is a great deal – think of the growing range of wifi-enabled mobile devices that include GSM/wifi mobile phones, Skype phones and the new iPod Touch. If you can connect to the net without a browser-based log in process, you’ll be able to use many of these devices.
Just nip into a McDonald’s and munch a Big Mac while you make some free phone calls or get some more songs from the iTunes Wifi Music Store.
The big difference – with Starbucks, you have to pay to use their pricey T-Mobile network while internet access will be free at McDonald’s. A bit of a no-brainer choice really. (How will Starbucks respond, I wonder? More of this, perhaps?)
I rarely visit a McDonald’s when I’m out and about. If I want to go online, it’s wherever I can and always having to pay high prices.
That behaviour’s about to change.