Google to launch own 'Nexus'-like carrier network to push innovations in wireless

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2015
Speaking at a Mobile World Congress keynote on Monday, Google's senior vice president of products, Sundar Pichai, confirmed earlier speculation and announced that the company is planning to launch its own carrier service with more details set to be announced in the coming months.




Pichai elaborated that the company is currently in negotiations with established carriers in an attempt to become a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). His comments were highlighted by CNet.

"We don't intend to be a network operator at scale," he said. "We are working with carrier partners. You'll see our answer in coming months. Our goal is to drive a set of innovations we think should arrive, but do it a smaller scale, like Nexus devices, so people will see what we're doing."

Rumors have had Google working with Sprint and T-Mobile on the project, but during his keynote, Pichai made no mention of specific allies. He did however state that part of the company's goal is to better mesh cellular and Wi-Fi services, which supports one past rumor that the company would use Wi-Fi to enhance coverage.

Some MVNOs, such as Republic Wireless, are already routing calls through Wi-Fi networks. Republic only makes use of Sprint's cellular network when Wi-Fi is unavailable.

No other details are available on Google's offering. The service could however have an impact similar to Google Fiber, which has forced rival ISPs in cities like Austin and Kansas City to boost speeds in order to stay competitive. By making the Internet faster and easier to access, Google drives its key search and advertising businesses.

For iPhone and iPad owners, a Google MVNO could potentially offer a cheaper and more practical way to connect their devices. Apple itself forced changes to the cellular industry with the 2007 introduction of the iPhone; data plans evolved from incidental offerings to a core product, becoming more affordable in the process.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,841member
    This is something I felt Apple should've done, with the eventual goal of owning a cell company. But noooooooo... ????

    In Google's case, I think this might blow up in their faces. They have a terrible record when it comes to customer service.
  • Reply 2 of 23
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,841member
    sog35 wrote: »
    Great.

    Now Google will be listening to your phone calls also.

    If you use Google Voice they already do that. Actually, there is no such thing as a private phone call. As Snowden revealed, every phone on the planet is monitored.
  • Reply 3 of 23
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,479member
    Okay, Google is going to bite another hand that feeds it. Google will give away free cell service as long as they can monitor every aspect of your life and advertise to you like you never seen before on your phone.

    Yeah this will work great you know any deal they will do will include a clause this allows any bandwidth they are allocate can be yanked at any time if the cell company needs it for their customers.
  • Reply 4 of 23
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    What's good about owning a wireless carrier?
  • Reply 5 of 23
    kent909kent909 Posts: 708member
    Cheaper and faster service. There is no catch here, is there. They just want to do all of us a great big favor.
  • Reply 6 of 23
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    This is something I felt Apple should've done, with the eventual goal of owning a cell company. But noooooooo... ????

     

    There's no money in owning a network. That's fine for Google but it's not Apple's way.

  • Reply 7 of 23
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,479member
    If you use Google Voice they already do that. Actually, there is no such thing as a private phone call. As Snowden revealed, every phone on the planet is monitored.

    Actually, I will clarify this a bit, every phone call has the "potential" to be monitor, in real time. This is nothing new. Since the existence of 7ESS phone system the government can log into the system and listen to any call they like. Grant in the past it required a warrant and a call to the phone company to gain access, but they do as the feel fit now since they were granted limitless warrant as part of patriot act.
  • Reply 8 of 23
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,841member
    richl wrote: »
    There's no money in owning a network. That's fine for Google but it's not Apple's way.

    Of course there's money in it, otherwise no one would own a network.
  • Reply 9 of 23
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,976member
    richl wrote: »
    There's no money in owning a network. That's fine for Google but it's not Apple's way.

    If there was no money in it nobody would build one.
  • Reply 10 of 23
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,479member
    Google may not need to do a deal with the cell phone company, many of the towers today are not even owned by the cell phone companies. Cell phone companies rent time on the towers or rent space to put their own equipment on the tower. For the last 15 years cell phone companies have been either selling their tower or working with third parties to rent time and space on towers, this is why you see so many towers with so many antennas on them. Local government did not want each cell phone company to have it own towers and have 4 or 5 towns in each location for each company.

    I could see google going to these third parties who know own the towers and equipment and rent time and usage on them.
  • Reply 11 of 23
    addicted44addicted44 Posts: 822member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RichL View Post

     

     

    There's no money in owning a network. That's fine for Google but it's not Apple's way.




    There's no money in designing your own chips either. There is no money in owning a fingerprint scanning company, etc.

     

    I am not endorsing Apple buying a carrier, but the whole point of owning one would be to do what Google is doing here. Provide faster advances, and a much better integrated experience, so Apple can implement technologies immediately instead of having to wait for years for the carriers getting around to doing it.

     

    And they'd probably make a decent profit while they were at it as well (although with much lower margins than their current business).

  • Reply 12 of 23
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post





    Of course there's money in it, otherwise no one would own a network.

     

    People own airlines and newspapers too. Doesn't mean that they're anywhere near a sensible industry to be in if you want to make money.

  • Reply 13 of 23
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,841member
    richl wrote: »
    People own airlines and newspapers too. Doesn't mean that they're anywhere near a sensible industry to be in if you want to make money.

    Richard Branson got into wireless and airline businesses and has done quite well with both.
  • Reply 14 of 23
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,007moderator
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    This is something I felt Apple should've done, with the eventual goal of owning a cell company. But noooooooo... ????



    In Google's case, I think this might blow up in their faces. They have a terrible record when it comes to customer service.

     

    Apple partners with more than 300 carriers around the world, including all U.S. carriers.  Creating their own carrier, assuming you're talking about here in the U.S., would cover only a tiny fraction of the U.S. market, would be an enormous expense, unless they went the MVNO route like Google is doing, and would place them squarely in competition with their carrier partners.  Not to mention that the profit margins aren't anywhere near Apple's current lines of business, so it's not a good business to expand into from where Apple is currently standing.

  • Reply 15 of 23
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,841member
    Apple partners with more than 300 carriers around the world, including all U.S. carriers.  Creating their own carrier, assuming you're talking about here in the U.S., would cover only a tiny fraction of the U.S. market, would be an enormous expense, unless they went the MVNO route like Google is doing, and would place them squarely in competition with their carrier partners.  Not to mention that the profit margins aren't anywhere near Apple's current lines of business, so it's not a good business to expand into from where Apple is currently standing.

    Apple does their best work when they own the whole end-to-end experience and I think eventually they will have an 'Apple Wireless' service to offer.
  • Reply 16 of 23
    rwesrwes Posts: 162member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

     



    There's no money in designing your own chips either. There is no money in owning a fingerprint scanning company, etc.

     

    I am not endorsing Apple buying a carrier, but the whole point of owning one would be to do what Google is doing here. Provide faster advances, and a much better integrated experience, so Apple can implement technologies immediately instead of having to wait for years for the carriers getting around to doing it.

     

    And they'd probably make a decent profit while they were at it as well (although with much lower margins than their current business).


     

    I'd have to disagree, but I could be wrong (obviously). Owning and running a mobile network is nothing like the businesses Apple has entered or has shown an interested in wanting to enter. All the regulatory hurdles in all the countries alone would be a nightmare.

     

    I am not anti-goverment by any means, but I think we all have an idea of how long it takes to get some things approved (in some areas of the world). If I had to bet on any company being able to improve the state of things, my bet would be on Apple, but they would be more easily hamstrung than Google is with Android by the carriers.

  • Reply 17 of 23
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post





    Richard Branson got into wireless and airline businesses and has done quite well with both.



    He resold Virgin Mobile in 2006 (for almost a billion GBP)

     

    At the time Jobs was coming up with the iPhone, he considered developing Apple's own network to compete with the big four, and when it became abundantly clear that it was not a viable option, thought of going the MVNO route, to eventually end up with the exclusive contract with AT&T we're all familiar with.

     

    What Google could do to really innovate is come up with a cell phone like the iPhone 6, capable of connecting to all four major cell providers, and make MVNO deals with all of them so the phone could freely roam on any of them, guaranteeing the best possible coverage anywhere. Chances of that happening: close to nil. But Google is at the top of the short list of companies who might be able to pull it off. A more pedestrian innovation would be the integration with Google Voice like they had with Sprint, but that's not exactly earth shattering.

  • Reply 18 of 23

    Soon, their valuations will also be carrier-like....

  • Reply 19 of 23
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,283member
    This makes more sense if you know about Qualcomm's new Licensed Assisted Access chipset, FSM 99xx, designed for mobile applications. It lets devices get LTE service via unclaimed wifi spectrum. You might expect to see it in some upcoming Android devices this year.

    Not sure what LAA is? Here's a link to an article about it.
    http://www.computerworld.com/article/2880206/are-carriers-trying-to-steal-wi-fis-spectrum-not-exactly.html
  • Reply 20 of 23
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,661member
    No thanks, Google. I don't want to hear an ad instead of a disk tone or ringback tone.
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