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AT&T Out, Google In as Wi-Fi Provider for Starbucks

Starbucks has formed a new partnership with Google that will bring customers Wi-Fi speeds that are projected to be up to 10 times faster than AT&T’s current network.

The move  will be a boon for Starbucks and its customers, as most people consider the coffee giant a “home away from home,” and a large percentage of customers go there to get work done.

Since most Internet users increasingly relying on faster speeds for downloading and streaming videos, Starbucks wanted to create a customer experience that matched the evolving needs of their patrons.

As Starbucks Chief Digital Officer Adam Brotnam told

” [Starbucks is] always happy to make an investment in our store experience. We’re moving to much more of a streaming world across all media types. This increased bandwidth will match what consumers are doing on the web today, whether downloading or streaming or both.”

Google and Starbucks plan to start upgrading stores starting as early as this month. The new network will be rolled out across all stores within about a year and a half. According to

“The faster service will first appear in new Starbucks locations over the next month. Starbucks will then roll it out to its 7,000 other U.S. stores, starting with the busiest locations where Wi-Fi usage is highest. The company expects to complete the transition in about 18 months.”

Although Starbucks left AT&T out in the cold for Google, AT&T seems to be taking the news quite well.

A spokesman stated: “Starbucks continues to be an important partner for us, and we continue to provide them with a variety of services over AT&T’s advanced network, including the nation’s fastest, most reliable LTE network.”

What that probably means is since AT&T still values Starbucks as a large wireless customer, they are not going to disclose how they really feel about the Google deal. The AT&T spokesman said that had Starbucks remained with them, they too would of been able to provide Internet speeds that are 10 times faster.

The move from Google underscores the potential threat that it poses to companies like AT&T. When Google and other tech companies come into a new market, they tend to disrupt the old establishment.

This strategy works better in some arenas than others. Google has yet to conquer television, but it does seem to on to something by providing faster Internet. It already has had some success with Google FIber in cities, and this new deal with Starbucks will also help to facilitate the expansion of that program.




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