Google today announced that it will soon be supplying WiFi to all Starbucks locations in the US. That also includes its new gigabit Google Fiber internet service where available.
Google will make free WiFi connections available to all 7,000 company-operated Starbucks stores in the United States over the next 18 months, ousting Starbucks’ current WiFi supplier, AT&T.
Under the AT&T branding there was no purchase or subscription required, no password needed and no time limit on your session. Starbucks and AT&T started their service in 2008, at first offering a mix of free and paid wireless Internet service. Starbucks switched to free WiFi access in June, 2010.
Google will start rolling out the new networks in August, using the SSID “Google Starbucks”.
Google recently announced it will also offer San Francisco $600,000 to set up free access in public spaces, with a rollout planned for completion in April, 2014 pending approvals.
Small cells and Hotspot 2.0 are the hot new thing for carriers. Hotspot 2.0 allows seamless roaming from licensed carriers to unlicensed WiFi.
AT&T says it will deploy more than 10,000 new macrocells, along with 40,000 small cells and 1,000 distributed antenna systems (DAS). AT&T expects their 700 MHz LTE network will cover 300 million POPs by the end of 2014. That compares to its current plans to deploy LTE to about 250 million people by year-end 2013.
Combining low frequency (600-800 MHz) macrocells with high frequency (2.4-2.7 GHz) small cells in urban cores is a tactic that may become increasingly popular. Especially if new competitors are allowed into the 600 MHz auction or are allowed to buy or lease 2.6GHz from Softbank.
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