Google wants to be a wireless carrier in the U.S., it says. But that doesn't mean it's going to compete with the incumbent big boys, oh no.
SVP of products Sundar Pichai announced the move at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. In becoming a small mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), Google aims to prod the industry into being better value and more innovative.
In IT Blogwatch, bloggers ponder the "Nexus" of wireless plans.
Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.
Joseph Wilson and Michael Liedtke tag-team to talk thus:
Google wants more people to get online. ... The company said...it will soon sell data plans for smartphones and tablets in the U.S. The announcement confirmed...reports in late January.
Pichai downplayed the competitive threat:.."We don't intend to be a network operator at scale." ... Pichai compared Google's latest move to its decision to launch its own line of Nexus smartphones, which he said Google uses...to introduce innovations. ... Google plans to be [an MVNO] which means it will lease space on an existing system...(reports have identified Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc). MORE
But Lisa Fleisher and Alistair Barr ain't totally buying the spin:
However small Google’s entry, the move by the creative and well-capitalized technology company is likely to send ripples. ... It is a strong signal that Google’s ambitions extend...to influencing how Internet access is delivered. .... AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile declined to comment.
[It] could reduce the amount of data users transfer across cellular networks, undermining a growing source of income for wireless carriers. ... Google has a history of lowering prices [and its] move into cellular comes...as T-Mobile and Sprint lower prices...while the cost to acquire wireless spectrum rises. MORE
So Philip Michaels adds analytical craft:
Don't expect to ditch your AT&T or Verizon contract for one with the search giant. [He] characterized Google's wireless plans as "very small scale."
Specifics on what exactly Google plans to provide are expected "in the next few months," according to Pichai. MORE
And Dan Seifert liveblogged the event, offering this precis of Sundararajan's plans:
Carriers in the US are what powers most of our Android phones and that model works really well for us. ... We're trying to show innovations, like calls automatically reconnecting if someone drops on one end.
We want to break down the barriers on how connectivity works. MORE
Meanwhile, Brian Fung cuts to the chase:
By adding wireless service...Google would be showcasing something nobody else has tried: a unified cellular experience that's entirely within the Google ecosystem.
“I think we’re at the stage where we need to think of hardware, software and connectivity together,” [said] Pichai. MORE
OK, yes, but why? Robert "nudge" Hof knows:
It’s yet another in a long line of moves by Google to push often recalcitrant industry players along. [Such as] its Nexus phones and tablets (which surely don’t bring in much if any profit), its fiber broadband service...all the way back to its 2008 bid for radio spectrum (which it lost, perhaps purposely, to get Verizon and others to...expand wireless Internet access).
It’s the latest example of how Google has become a master of the nudge...push[ing] software developers, hardware partners, carriers, and competitors to improve...because the better the hardware, software, and Internet access they provide, the better Google’s advertising business does. [I] believe that Google’s move could spur other wireless operators to improve their networks...in an industry still based on relatively high monthly fees.
Lots of questions remain about Google’s plans, of which it may reveal more at its I/O software developers conference in May. [But you] shouldn’t expect to get cheap wireless service from Google anytime soon. MORE
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