Google, Starbucks Start AT&T Router Swap
Along with $11,000 Clover coffee machines, Starbucks is swapping out all its old routers as part of its deal to switch from AT&T's WiFi to Google.
Starbucks announced earlier this month that it would be ending its five-year relationship with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) to bring in WiFi service from Google (Nasdaq: GOOG). Spokespeople for the coffeehouse and software giant confirm to Light Reading that they will be installing new routers to replace all the old as they roll out "the faster WiFi with Google." (See Is Google the New WiFi of Coffee Snobs?)
"However, like with many of our vendor agreements, we are not disclosing the router vendor," Starbuck's spokeswoman adds, echoing Google's sentiments.
The companies also haven't said whether the new WiFi routers will include the zippier 802.11ac connectivity, capable of supporting speeds up to 1 Gbit/s.
AT&T has more than 32,000 WiFi hotspots deployed across the US, and it works with a number of router vendors on the deployments. Losing Starbucks as a customer knocks off 7,000 of those, but it's also a blow to its router partners.
While Google wouldn't reveal its router partners, it is worth noting that, as of March 31, the software giant was a 5 percent shareholder in Ruckus Wireless Inc. (NYSE: RKUS) via its acquisition of Motorola. Google closed on the sale of Motorola Home, which includes its cable TV and Internet devices, to Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) in April, so it's unclear whether Google is still holding on to any stake in the WiFi vendor. If it is, that could have some influence on its choices. (See Arris Secures Motorola Home.)
Curious minds will be able to find out soon enough. Google and Starbucks are beginning their upgrade this month and expect the router overhaul to take 18 months to reach 7,000 of its locations across the US.
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading