Up until a few months ago you could go into any Starbucks in Penang, and use the WiFi while you were there. You had to connect, then open a browser and wait for 20 seconds (why?) and then connect.
So you could connect your phone and also tablet or computer, and even if you are exclusively using the computer, it’s handy to have the phone connected, for example if you want to sync something from or to the phone, like a photo you just took or Evernote etc.
And if there are two of you or more, buying on one receipt it was no problem for both / all of you to connect to the WiFi.
But maybe too many people were taking too much advantage – staying for a long time, making big downloads etc. So they changed it. Starbucks seems emptier nowadays, but the WiFi doesn’t seem any faster.
Now you get a code on the receipt which is good for two hours and one device. So if there are two of you, you need to buy separately so you each get a code. And as you can connect only one device at a time, to sync something you have to log off one device and onto the other using the code, and then log off that device and back onto the other. All too much trouble.
My wife’s iPad won’t connect, and a couple of other people I asked couldn’t connect their Apple devices. Starbucks staff couldn’t help.
So we use Starbucks a lot less. I would rarely stay longer than two hours, and didn’t make big downloads there anyway. Sometimes I take my own MiFi device so I supply my own Internet connection.
So I don’t know how this new policy is working out for Starbucks, but it’s not working well for me.