McDonald's to offer free, unlimited Wi-Fi

Fast-food chain wants customers to stay longer

McDonald's restaurants may soon be the easiest spot to find free Wi-Fi and browse the Web as long as you like.

The restaurant chain is lifting a $2.95 fee for two hours of wireless Internet access starting in mid-January, according to the Wall Street Journal and other reports.

McDonald's officials could not be reached immediately for comment.

The free Wi-Fi will reportedly be available at about 11,000 of 14,000 U.S. locations. McDonald's has used Wi-Fi provided by AT&T Inc. for several years, after first launching the service at 75 locations in San Francisco in 2003.

The free Wi-Fi will come with no time limits, all the better to encourage visitors to stay longer and buy McDonald's coffee drinks and hamburgers.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smart phones and other handhelds and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter @matthamblen, send e-mail at mhamblen@computerworld.com or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed .

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