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Google Technology

Google Wants To Be a Wireless Carrier 151

Posted by samzenpus
from the google-calling dept.
zacharye writes "Google has already conquered the software side of smartphones and now the technology giant is reportedly in talks to take over the air waves. A report on Thursday claims that Google has held talks with satellite television provider Dish Network regarding the possibility of a venture that would see Google launch its own cellular network and compete directly with the likes of Verizon and AT&T."
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Google Wants To Be a Wireless Carrier

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2012 @09:08AM (#42000385)

    When the current crop of American wireless carriers look like a group of mustache-twirling Bond villains, it won't be hard for Google to come off as the better choice. At least they'll have an incentive to give you unlimited high speed data.

    Too bad the coverage area will probably be tiny.

    • by somersault (912633) on Friday November 16, 2012 @09:12AM (#42000397) Homepage Journal

      As long as it forces the other carriers to have a look at their rates, it's good. It probably won't affect me anytime soon seeing as I live in the UK (besides, my phone is a company phone anyway), but I'd like to see what kind of rates Google considers to be reasonable.

      • by Adriax (746043)

        Taking into account the prices they have set for their broadband rollout trial, I'm guessing pretty darn good.

        I really hope their wireless is a data only thing, giving users the choice of what voip provider to choose for their voice/text. Google talk would be an obvious choice, but skype integrates nicely with my old droid x as well.
        Plus, if they don't go the "subsidized phone via 2 year slave contract" route it would help bring down handset prices to sane levels.

    • by History's Coming To (1059484) on Friday November 16, 2012 @09:15AM (#42000435) Journal
      If they follow their general model we'll probably be looking at something ad supported - in-browser, SMS ads, that sort of thing - to support "unlimited" data, and with the option to pay $5/month to remove them. If Google take this as a near-loss-leader then we could see a big shake up amongst providers, although I suspect we'll simply see a host of competitiveness lawsuits and the lawyers will be the only winners...again.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2012 @09:37AM (#42000559)

        If they follow their general model we'll probably be looking at ...

        If they follow their general model we'll probably be looking at Google tracking anything and everything your phone sends and receives, and then they'll send you ads. So, in the middle of texting back and forth to pick a time and place for dinner you'll get a Google sponsored text message telling you about a great restaurant in your area and they happen to take Google Wallet as a payment method.

        • by ByOhTek (1181381)

          So... my phone will know when I bang a porn star and then tell all my friends about it?

          VINDICATION! BRAGGING RIGHTS! HELL YES!

          Oh, wait, I have to manage to get a porn star first? Stupid details.

          • by chill (34294) on Friday November 16, 2012 @10:34AM (#42000975) Journal

            Uh, banging a porn star is easy, all it takes is money. Many of them have side jobs as escorts in Las Vegas.

            You DO realize porn stars are essentially prostitutes with a camera crew, don't you?

            Of course, they charge more than the $20 crack-hos you're used to so you'll need to have some serious income first. Stupid details.

            • by ByOhTek (1181381)

              *sigh*

              It was a joke. You've heard of them, right?

        • by EvilBudMan (588716) on Friday November 16, 2012 @10:11AM (#42000761) Journal

          We'll the government does that tracking anyhow. So why not? That one thing that makes Google successful as their ads are less intrusive and therefore more effective. I would trust them more with my data than let's say any other third party.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Vintermann (400722)

          Because intrusiveness is what Google is famous for! It's what made them out-compete search engines such as Excite and Lycos!

        • by Malenx (1453851)

          And for a cheap rate, I would gladly give over that information as long as it doesn't require work on my part.

          You act like many people wouldn't be willing to sell information about themselves if they could easily do it in exchange for a product they want.

        • by Meski (774546)

          If they follow their general model we'll probably be looking at ...

          If they follow their general model we'll probably be looking at Google tracking anything and everything your phone sends and receives, and then they'll send you ads. So, in the middle of texting back and forth to pick a time and place for dinner you'll get a Google sponsored text message telling you about a great restaurant in your area and they happen to take Google Wallet as a payment method.

          Sounds good to me. But SMS is getting dated, they'll likely use something different.

      • and how will ad supported and roaming work?? you pay roaming fees for the ad data???

      • by neonKow (1239288) on Friday November 16, 2012 @09:53AM (#42000651) Journal

        Actually, if they follow their general model, then we're looking at something data-mining supported. Google products may have ads, but don't forget how many non-google sites carry google ads.

        As for how it'll affect the industry as a whole: there won't be lawsuits. Rather, AT&T and Verizon will have to follow suit to stay competitive, and then data mining your unencrypted mobile data will become both legal and the norm. Yay for privacy errosion!

        • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday November 16, 2012 @10:35AM (#42000979)

          AT&T and Verizon already do a lot of this.
          I know Verizon had an opt out page I had to go to recently to end some of it.

          http://www22.verizon.com/about/privacy/ [verizon.com]

          You will note that the document about how much they share your data is called privacy. Talk about double plus ungood.

          • Talk about double plus ungood.

            Is that the plan that comes with rollover ungood? Free ungood nights and weekends?

        • by Vintermann (400722) on Friday November 16, 2012 @10:46AM (#42001081) Homepage

          If Google follow their general model, they're not doing this to make money directly, but to pave the way for their main product when unacknowledged monopolies and soft cartels threaten their advance.

          See also: Android.

          If the telecoms have any sense, the mere threat of competition ought to scare them in line. But don't count on it.

          • by alostpacket (1972110) on Friday November 16, 2012 @02:11PM (#42003327) Homepage

            Indeed, this has been their strategy for years. Warren Buffet Called it building their "moat" around the "castle" of the search business. Datamining helps with targeting and increases the value of an advertisement. But the primary purpose here is to make sure no one can throw up a toll bridge between them and the consumer. Their original and still current goal was/is to "be the interface to information."

          • by MrDoh! (71235)
            Alas, the threat of competition will cause them to hire more lawyers to fight than implement new tech at cheaper prices. Google will /really/ have it's work cut out fighting, as EVERYONE will throw EVERYTHING they have and the lobby industry is strong with the carriers as they'll do everything they can to stop things changing. Of course,there's also a huge risk to Google's handset sales for any other network, why would AT&T/Sprint/Verizon sell Android phones if they can be switched over to Google's wi
            • by neonKow (1239288)

              Why do you say T-Mobile is better suited? The other carriers have phones, plans, and stores that could work just as well. Sprint is even more tightly integrated with Google Voice than any other carrier.

        • If you have a smart phone simply don't use sms use xmpp and a chat client and it is encrypted if I remember correctly

          • by mlts (1038732) *

            One thing I wish someone could make would be an app that uses the OpenPGP format that could piggyback on top of SMS using multiple messages, or even MMS.

            As another alternative would be a key negotation and using a session key, changing it out every so often via a Diffie-Hellman key exchange. Of course, one would have to make sure of the veracity of the public key, but that can be done with fingerprints, or even using a PGP WoT.

        • by mlts (1038732) *

          Isn't that already done? Carrier IQ was something that was a subject of more than a few Slashdot discussions.

          Given a choice between data mined and charged reasonable fees versus data mined and charged obnoxious fees, I'll take the former.

          Similar with Google's ads. At least the chance of getting malware through their system of text ads is extremely low compared to other ad networks which may have stuff to exploit browser add-ons.

          • by neonKow (1239288)

            Yeah, but for some reason, if Google were the one to pull something like Carrier IQ, they would've done it more intelligently in a way that wouldn't result in widespread criticism (or maybe only criticism in EU courts).

            As for malware, text ads only protect again drive-by downloads. There are plenty of malicious phishing ads on google ads. I've had to help fix a few. Just because I'm not succeptible to them doesn't mean I am not negatively affected by them.

    • Seriously... they can't be any worse.

    • by BlueStrat (756137) on Friday November 16, 2012 @09:34AM (#42000541)

      When the current crop of American wireless carriers look like a group of mustache-twirling Bond villains, it won't be hard for Google to come off as the better choice. At least they'll have an incentive to give you unlimited high speed data.

      Too bad the coverage area will probably be tiny.

      You might get slightly better deals with Google, but the additional privacy/tracking data that Google (and the US government) will have on people...internet and phone/voice history, voice call recordings and internet browsing history, all that data from one convenient source...scares me.

      I wish someone would write a credibly-strong voice/data encryption/scrambling smartphone app. They would probably have to develop/release/distribute it outside the US in a country unfriendly to the US, however, to avoid the long reach of the US government.

      They wouldn't be happy that a large chunk of the domestic civilian signals surveillance data they planned to store in that mega-sized (and a mega-sized price tag) government data storage center they're building in Colorado became all but useless to them before they even cut the opening-day ribbon. That's one very large chunk of taxpayer money I wouldn't mind seeing turned into waste.

      Strat

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Why would it have to be developed outside the USA?
        Our best forms of encryption seem to come with help from the NSA. They would rather no one be able to spy on us, than they and everyone else.

      • by blueg3 (192743)

        Voice: RedPhone. SMS: TextSecure. Data: SSL. (Both RedPhone and TextSecure were developed and are distributed within the US, by the way.)

        Strong encryption isn't hard. But it requires both endpoints of the communication to agree to use the same system for encryption and it requires them to share information ahead of time (or to both have shared information, like a PKI infrastructure).

      • by jpstanle (1604059)

        You might get slightly better deals with Google, but the additional privacy/tracking data that Google (and the US government) will have on people...internet and phone/voice history, voice call recordings and internet browsing history, all that data from one convenient source...scares me.

        You say that like the existing mobile carriers aren't already doing that kind of bullshit. Remember Carrier IQ? Verizon/AT&T complicit in warrantless wiretapping?

      • but the additional privacy/tracking data that Google (and the US government) will have on people...internet and phone/voice history, voice call recordings and internet browsing history, all that data from one convenient source...scares me.

        You don't think at&t is already doing this?

      • by spd_rcr (537511)

        A couple points, I wonder if this is the magic factor Microsoft has been banking on to drive wireless carriers into selling more Windows Phones (as opposed to pushing Android). ?
        Has anyone trademarked Paranoid-Droid yet ? I think I see a future Android/Linux fork possibility. I'm not sure how much more data Google would really gain by directly providing the service vs. what everyone is already willing to give away.

  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dnahelicase (1594971) on Friday November 16, 2012 @09:13AM (#42000419)
    Competition is nice, but I don't live in Seattle or Kansas City, so it probably won't affect me. ATT will probably just come up with a new plan where my family can share just a little bit less data for a little bit more money than I'm already paying.
  • If Google were ever going to get nailed up for antitrust, it would be because they provided network, cell network, phone, software, and content.

    If it goes through I'll consider it a sign that they're considered usable

    • by Enry (630) <enry AT wayga DOT net> on Friday November 16, 2012 @09:21AM (#42000479) Journal

      1) Just because you're a monopoly means you're going to get sued for antitrust
      b) Just because you provide a bunch of services at once doesn't make you a monopoly
      iii) Verizon and AT&T better watch out

      • by Eskarel (565631)

        Actually, vertical integration is one of the definitions of a monopoly, and you could be a monopoly even if your market share in every segment was virtually non existent. Since Google will be vertically integrated(or fairly close to anyway), and have massive market share in some of those segments, they'd be pretty much a text book monopoly.

        Of course Google is the poster child for American innovation so no matter how much they don't innovate or how much they distort the market or break the law, nothing of an

        • by aitikin (909209)

          You're correct, vertical integration doth a monopoly make. But that's a legal monopoly. If not, the oil companies would be illegal and Apple would only make the software while Apple Software made the software. Practicing such as vertical integration become illegal when they completely control the marketplace (so if, in the case in point, Google were to cause AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile to leave the marketplace, there would be a solid case for vertical integration).

          If this gets in front of an

        • Since Google will be vertically integrated(or fairly close to anyway)

          If suddenly Google services worked better on Google networks, they would be in monopoly trouble. But I hope (and believe) that Google want the networks to stay "dumb pipes", to better serve their core business

          • what if Google Services worked better on Google Networks simply because Google Networks work better than the alternatives? My 3G experience has dramatically shifted towards "sucks" immediately following 4G LTE network upgrade in my city. I can be sitting still, and my Cell bars fluctuate between 1 and 4 bars and back to 1 constantly. This never used to happen.

            The issue is if Google tunes its services to work better on its networks (and worse on competitors), not just having a better network.

    • I had this strange distopian vision that in the future the only carriers were Google, Apple, and Microsoft*. I shuddered.

      (*Not that MS is going to pull of a phone someone wants any time soon.)

      • by neonKow (1239288) on Friday November 16, 2012 @01:17PM (#42002879) Journal

        There will be one more itty bitty carrier, run by a ragtag band of Linux and BSD geeks, with connections to Tor and the EFF. They will use cool, cutting edge tech paired with some ancient, unscaleable techs and almost everyone who is willing to use the carrier in their limited markets are only separated by 2 or 3 degrees by PGP keys. A connection will require line-of-sight to a tower, even by hovertrain, you only see them once every 5 minutes, but a connection is so fast that most users carry a cache of 95% of the web with them if they need it on-the-go. Their motto will be "More free than beer" (or some recursive acronym), but they will be nameless, but people will still whisper among each other about the ones who managed to find their way to "a truly open connection."

    • by gr8_phk (621180)
      Being vertically integrated does not make a monopoly.
      • by AuMatar (183847)

        Actually it does. Google (irony there) "vertical monopoly". However being a monopoly is not illegal, only abusing your monopoly is.

    • by gclef (96311)

      Having a monopoly is not illegal. Using a monopoly in one area to unfairly distort the market in other areas is illegal. Microsoft's monopoly on the desktop (in the past, don't start with me about right now) was legal. Using that monopoly to give away a product and drive Netscape out of business was not. Google's monopoly on search is legal. Google does not have a monopoly on phone software.

      With all that said, if Google gives away wireless, the way they make money back would be interesting. It might be lega

  • Finally. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    A carrier that wants you to spend as much time as possible using its service.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    affordable cel here we come.
    and the carriers only have themselves to blame.
    i worked for some of them and i can tell you all three were dinosaurs.
    well, mr dinosaur, here comes the asteroid.

  • Technical Question (Score:4, Interesting)

    by trout007 (975317) on Friday November 16, 2012 @09:17AM (#42000443)

    I don't work in this field so I'd like to know if there is a technical reason that cell phone companies charge different for text, data, and voice? In other words is the data all treated the same on the network or is voice given bandwidth priority because it needs to be real time?

    • by somersault (912633) on Friday November 16, 2012 @09:29AM (#42000513) Homepage Journal

      I don't know the technical details, but even if voice is given priority (which is probably is), the rates they charge for texts have always been ludicrous, even compared to their data plans. So obviously they're just milking it for all they can get, rather than charging differently for technical reasons.

      • by trout007 (975317)

        Were texts originally sent over a pager network? Wasn't that different than cellular?

        • by kriebz (258828) <kriebz@gmail.com> on Friday November 16, 2012 @09:50AM (#42000629)

          No, SMS came from a GSM feature that sent data in tiny packets in the control channel phones used all the time for presense and syncronization. The bandwidth was always in constant use, so packing data into it didn't really cost anything. CDMA probably implements a similar feature that uses squat bandwidth.

          Now, the weird thing is, carriers charge the same for SMS as MMS, at least in my experience, where MMS uses 3G to send potentially a lot of data.

    • by Eskarel (565631)

      I don't either, but I understand a bit of what's going on. Essentially it's sort of complicated.

      Part of why data is so expensive is because the phone companies have to keep investing in new infrastructure to deliver the speeds that people expect from their phones in this day and age and the phone companies have to make their money back(and ideally earn a profit). Part of it has to do with the fact that while voice is technically data, the way voice traffic is transmitted, even in a cell network isn't really

    • by YoopDaDum (1998474) on Friday November 16, 2012 @10:43AM (#42001059)
      The pricing is not so much driven by the technology than by what operators can charge. It's particularly true for text, where the margin is really really huge and unrelated to technology. But as it's a geek site let's go over the tech now ;) All 3 use slightly different mechanisms.

      Short messages (SMS, or text) piggy back over the signaling protocol.

      With GSM and WCDMA 3G (3GPP standards), voice and data share the same radio network. But on the network side there are separate core networks for voice (CS domain, for Circuit Switched) and data (PS domain, for Packet Switched). In the CDMA world there are actually separate radio networks for voice (CDMA 1x) and data (EVDO). This is why you can't do both voice and data at the same time on most CDMA phones: it would require 2 radios, which adds cost and complexity. Whereas with 2G/3G, both goes over the same radio network so both can operate concurrently with a single radio.

      Starting with 4G, or LTE in practice, there is still a single radio network as before but now the core (EPC, Evolved Packet Core) is also unified and built over IP. Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is not common yet but it's basically VoIP built on IMS. All is unified, but voice is of course prioritized over best effort data using QoS both in the RAN (radio access network) and EPC.
    • Prior to LTE, all networks used technologies that made heavy distinctions between packet switched data, voice, and control/signalling. Generally speaking, the available bandwidth (not to be confused with spectrum) is split into fixed-width channels. In TDMA this is done via frequencies and time slots, in CDMA (not to be confused with IS-2000) this is done using a coding system for each bit, with a different code assigned to each channel. But either way, that was the result: each voice call/direction was ge

    • by jittles (1613415)
      I have a brother who is somewhat involved in the cell industry. He says that text messages use the voice channel, and that is why they are not included in "Unlimited data" packages. He also indicates that the equipment to include SMS was separate from the rest of the cell hardware. Now they use SMS to notify the phone when it has voicemail, and they only let you send SMS when the network isn't doing anything significant anyway. So really the cost of a text message now is almost $0.00 for the company. T
  • by Fished (574624) <amphigory.gmail@com> on Friday November 16, 2012 @09:26AM (#42000499)
    Google has $47B in cash, Verizon's market cap is "only" $118B. I'd imagine AT&T's market cap is lower. Surely they could finance buying one of the major carriers. Shoot, sprint they could buy outright with $30B case left over.

    Why wouldn't they just buy a network?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Sprint is CDMA. CDMA is a pain in the ass to work with (hence why Nexus phones straight from Google are not CDMA). They'll be competing with AT&T/TMobile as they want their phones to be able to work globally. I imagine AT&T is not worth buying. TMobile would be an interesting choice, though.

      • Exactly. T-Mobile is already in a position that is friendly to unsubsidized phones. There is a reason Google and T-Mobile have worked together often. I know that Deutsche Telekom was looking to sell off T-Mobile as well. I guarantee that a T-Mobile infused Google would be near unstoppable.
        • by tobiasly (524456)

          I've wished for a long time that Google would buy T-Mobile. I'm wondering if they'll take a major stake in them once they go public as a separate entity as a result of their merger with MetroPCS. Here's hoping...

          • by mlts (1038732) *

            From what I know, it would be a major gain for Google, but there are FCC regs in place that prevent a company that owns a telco from making their own phones, so Google would have to either spin Moto Mobility off, or do a stock swap and keep T-Mo as an independant entity.

      • CDMA is technologically superior to GSM. GSM uses TDMA for voice. TDMA has long since fallen out of use in modern systems as a modulation method for the same reason that token ring has fallen out of use in networking. TDMA is a massive waste of available spectrum and has a very short range compared to CDMA.

        This is why for 3G, the GSM standard has adopted CDMA over TDMA, but still uses TDMA for voice for backwards compatibility.

        If anything, I imagine google would go straight to LTE and simply use VoLTE, whic

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      Yeah, but then they'd have to own Sprint. Now I used to curse Sprint because for a long time their routers were between me and a sizable chunk of the Internet and they'd go down like clockwork. During my brief stay with them as my cellphone carrier I found that their cell infrastructure was similarly reliable. I'm pretty sure the company runs entirely equipment that they acquire from boxes of Post Toasties(tm). To save costs, I'm also pretty sure they actually eat all the Toasties. That'd explain why things
      • by chill (34294)

        In Sprint's defense, during the earthquake that shook DC last year, theirs was the only network still functioning right afterwards.

        Every other one was so flooded no one could connect to make a call. AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile were totally DoSed. The one guy I knew who had a Sprint phone had no issues.

        Being unpopular sometimes has some advantages.

        • CDMA had more to do with that. Its a far FAR more robust technology than GSM.

          GSM is actually garbage, its just been adopted as the standard .... well I don't know why.

          CDMA had better building penetration, better range, and the equipment itself is less delicate.

          • by chill (34294)

            Verizon is CDMA and had the same problems.

            It had nothing to do with building penetration or better range. After the earthquake everyone was outside and downtown DC has lots of close cell towers. It was pure DoS.

            As for "...well, i don't know why" much of your answer lies in (not any particular order):

            1. Qualcomm patents on CDMA and the way they were enforced.
            2. GSM is older than CDMA and got a head start.
            3. GSM 3G not only allows the simultaneous transmission of voice and data it is part of the required impl

            • So thats why Rogers doesn't suck for coverage anymore. Its all CDMA now. That makes a whole lot of sense.

              Thanks.

            • GSM only facilitates simultaneous voice/data since it uses two separate radios: One for TDMA modulation, and another for WCDMA modulation. CDMA2000 can do simultaneous voice/data with a single radio using SVDO, but most carriers and handset OEM's are too lazy to implement it.

              Sprint WiMAX phones can do simultaneous voice/data, if you live in an area with that. Same for their LTE phones, and same for Verizon LTE. Basically the same reason GSM can do simultaneous voice/data; an additional radio to support a ne

          • by mlts (1038732) *

            This can be argued. CDMA has its good points. Towers cover a larger area is one of the main things.

            However, here in the US where carriers don't use R/UIM cards, there is no such thing as phone portability. I can use a GSM phone from Europe on a US network without issue. It may end up at EDGE speeds, but it still is usable. As far as I know, both Sprint and Verizon will not allow any devices on their network that they did not sell. Then, there is the SIM card item. I switch SIM cards, (perhaps using a

    • If you buy a network you have to deal with the problems of the current system and employees.

      If you roll your own you get to dictate its development and management style from the ground up.

      Google obviously sees the problem as systemic, and they're right.

      Sprint *MAY* be a good fit but you're taking an awful chance buying them for 18b and then potentially having to gut a lot of the experienced staff.

      Verizon and AT&T aren't options. Market caps are too high for Google to legitimately finance buying them. Th

  • Yea cause I wanna give a company that sells my info for billions and billions my actual raw internet traffic... Gag. I guess there is always crypto...

    • by mlts (1038732) *

      Other companies that sell your info already have access, either via ad servers and cross-domain persistant tracking mechanisms, or tracking the order your fonts are in (which is different on every machine.)

      As for raw traffic, most sites (Slashdot is in this) use, or have the option to use SSL for all traffic. This doesn't prevent all attacks, but it ups the ante, and prevents someone from just casually building up a data mine by passive packet sniffing.

  • Presently with Google Voice + GrooVe IP on my Droid, I have no need for an extremely overpriced minutes plan, texting plan, or share everything plan. Just give me some data at a reasonable rate, which will happen judging by their Kansas City internet rates. I'll be the first in line to dump Verizon, AT&T, etc for a Google Wireless plan. Just don't be evil with it, and I'll be very happy.
  • Does it own spectrum it's not using or what?

    (Couldn't resist - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJ5X721ABs4 [youtube.com])

    .
    • Dish has spectrum and is having trouble scaring up customers because they don't offer internet service (and even if they did, internet via geosynchronous satellite is REALLY laggy. Speed of light gets in the way). Pay TV is on the way out and companies that offer only pay TV are taking it in the teeth. The cable company can leverage its internet service into bundling their precious "Triple Play". Dish has no such option. This is more about Dish trying to find a buyer for themselves than it is Google tr

  • I wonder if they would listen into your call or only let you speak after you had listened to an advertisement.

  • Do you think Google designed, develops and supports Android just for the sake of glory?
    • by wed128 (722152)

      Probably not, but maintaining a smartphone OS doesn't mean you want to be a carrier. For instance

      Microsoft
      Apple
      Nokia
      Samsung
      Palm/HP

      All produce (or produced...) smartphone operating systems. None are (or were) carriers. This would be an off-pattern move.

  • How does working with a satellite TV provider help one build a cellular phone network?
  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday November 16, 2012 @10:23AM (#42000867) Homepage

    Google may be a great beneficiary and contributor to the internet with its use of open source and open technologies and history of giving back to the community. The exchange for this is that people use their services from which they collect lots and lots of data to be used for lots and lots of things. (Sales/advertising data primarily, but also providing information to governmet and law enforcement in particular)

    On one hand, I can see Google lowering the cost of mobile/wireless telephony and causing all sorts of competitive horrors for the few major telecom companies out there raking in their reportedly 6452% markup profits (that's actually the Canadian telecom data from a previous slashdot story but it's fair to presume we're in the same ballpark where US carriers are concerned). On the other hand, there needs to be some limits on what and how Google can collect as far as user data goes. But now that I think about it, there's probably not much limitation on that in place now with the traditional set of carriers' services. But I know this: Data collection and sales of that data is the #1 source of income for Google. I am not sure I can say the same about the carriers.

    This news makes me uncomfortable though I can't say precisely why other than the fact that I generally distrust data collectors and sellers.

  • 1) America would be the last place I tried to muscle into the cellular networks. There's lots of small European countries etc. that you could just buy the entire rights to and not have the hassle, and work as a small-scale test of their capability and services.

    2) If Google come to the UK and set up a data plan with a realistic cost (i.e. I can't measure it in GBP / Mb without hitting tiny fractions) then I'd buy it - paranoid privacy worries or not.

    What mobile telephony needs is an outside player willing t

    • 1) Yeah, but if Google's previous practices are any indication, they tend to only sporadically remember there are markets outside the US. They're not IBM, different cultures tend to confuse them.

      2) Agreed. I may be worried about Google's increased competence in mining my data, but when it comes to willingness (and eagerness to sell it/cooperate with government) I can't think of any telecom I trust more - quite the opposite.

  • One cool thing about starting a new network is that they can skip all the legacy G2/G3 stuff and create a pure LTE-only network. That should reduce the amount of spectrum required. Getting the spectrum is the tricky part. We all remember when they lost the 700MHz bid, but fortunately got the open access provisions included. What is available for them?

  • by bartoku (922448) on Friday November 16, 2012 @01:18PM (#42002889)
    We do not need huge carriers that produce individual networks.

    Cell towers should run like WiFi access points, and the mobile device should handle the hand off between towers.
    Each tower can even be run by an individual entity if desired.
    Instead there would be entities that sell data credit.

    A mobile device would have an account with a data credit reseller.
    The mobile device can scan for access in its area and connect to a tower based on how the user priorities (cost, speed, signal strength...)
    The tower would then charge the data credit reseller for the user's usage.

    This setup allows for each cell tower to compete for users in an area.
    This would allow start-up wireless companies to compete immediately.
    Once enough individual towers went up then it would compete with the big carriers and force them to change.
  • May as well say "Legacy technology companies want carriers to think Android is a threat to their existence."
  • I want.

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