Welcome!

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Java IoT, Mobile IoT, Agile Computing, Release Management , SDN Journal

@ThingsExpo: Article

Google Can Run Wireless Industry by Proxy

No need to become a wireless carrier

Some people really want Google to be a wireless carrier. The most recent speculative episode was early in April when The Information published an exclusive suggesting that Google might be thinking about an MVNO deal with Verizon or AT&T, based on comments by people who were unnamed (but might have been close to Google).

Now I don't want to be picky, but the notion that Google might want to become a wireless carrier has been talked about by unnamed "experts" in bars for many years, and lots of that speculation has been published with enthusiasm. It is rather evident that becoming a wireless carrier might be something that Google (and Apple or Samsung) could seriously consider. For Google especially the pairing of wireless with fixed broadband access might seem attractive, but it's hardly a novel concept. Note that if any of those companies want to move into the mobile wireless carrier space in a hurry, then an MVNO deal with one of the major U.S. wireless operators is the only way to do it. Google doesn't own the spectrum needed to provide nationwide cellular coverage, so renting another carrier's capacity is the only practical way forward. No new insights there.

And speaking of spectrum: it was in 2007 that people were speculating that Google's intention was to compete as a wireless carrier when Google announced it would bid on the newly available 700MHz bands. Why bid for spectrum unless you want to become a wireless company? People were asking themselves, "Could Google kill the cellphone industry?" Eventually it became clear that Google's objective was not to become a carrier, but to ensure that at least some carriers were required to offer spectrum that would be open to any device. The ploy sort of succeeded. In the January 2008 auctions, Google managed to push the price up and the purchasers were committed to some openness, but not with any enthusiasm. Google didn't have to buy spectrum to make an impact - it just had to say it would bid (a ruse dubbed the "Google Effect" by one team of researchers.) Chunks of this spectrum were still being hawked from carrier to carrier as recently as January 2014 (one careful owner, good condition, lightly used).

When Google decided to go into the device business in 2008 with the launch of its first Android phone, people thought that might be a clue that Google was still aiming to be a carrier. But no, Google actually just wanted to go into the device business. Speculation rose again with the launch of Google's own branded phone, the Nexus One, in January 2010, but again we found that Google's aim was just to disrupt the phone distribution model (in which it didn't succeed) - not to become a wireless carrier.

And let's not forget the excitement around Google's 2011 MVNO experiment in Spain, which was going to lead to Google setting up MVNOs across Europe. It didn't happen right away, but that didn't stop the same rumor emerging when the EU promised (or threatened) in May 2012 to get tough on excessive roaming charges.  It was speculated this would create a wireless opportunity not just for Google, but for Apple too.

Google is already one of the dominant players in wireless. In July 2013, Google Play overtook the Apple Store as the leader in number of mobile app downloads. Google's Android OS is now the best-selling mobile device platform in every major world market. Google Voice has hardly started to achieve its potential yet, but in principle it could become a cross-platform, multi-carrier asset when Google decides to give the product some serious attention. And in 2012 when Google acquired Motorola Mobility, it rather quickly sucked all the patents out of it and now plans to sell off the Motorola manufacturing business to Lenovo, suggesting that Google has interests wider than the mundane world of running factories.

Similarly, it's likely that Google has less interest than fans might think in the mundane world of running wireless networks. Carrying the bits safely across the network is an essential and noble trade, but increasingly it's not where the real action is. Being a wireless carrier is geographically constrained, subject to regulation in most countries and relatively labor-intensive. It also requires operational skill sets that Google may not have or wish to acquire. If Google can run the wireless industry by proxy, through deals and partnerships, and by exercising influence through platforms, apps and over-the-top services, that might be more fun than becoming a ‘me too' wireless carrier and picking fights with the incumbents. If Google ever decides to become a wireless carrier it will not be because they feel an urge to become a conventional phone company. It will be because they have dreamed up a disruptive business model that will shake up the market. And that will be news, when it happens.

Interested in learning more about these industry developments (and rumors)? Tweet us your questions!

More Stories By Esmeralda Swartz

Esmeralda Swartz is VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud, BUSS. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda was CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. At MetraTech, Esmeralda was responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution for enterprise and SaaS products, product management, business development and partner programs. Prior to MetraTech, Esmeralda was co-founder, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Lightwolf Technologies, a big data management startup. She was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of resource and service control software, now part of Extreme Networks.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
You know you need the cloud, but you're hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You're looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you're concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies. What do you do?
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
"We started a Master of Science in business analytics - that's the hot topic. We serve the business community around San Francisco so we educate the working professionals and this is where they all want to be," explained Judy Lee, Associate Professor and Department Chair at Golden Gate University, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DevOps promotes continuous improvement through a culture of collaboration. But in real terms, how do you: Integrate activities across diverse teams and services? Make objective decisions with system-wide visibility? Use feedback loops to enable learning and improvement? With technology insights and real-world examples, in his general session at @DevOpsSummit, at 21st Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, explored how leading organizations use data-driven DevOps to close th...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Digital transformation - what we knew about it in the past has been redefined. Automation is going to play such a huge role in that because the culture, the technology, and the business operations are being shifted now," stated Brian Boeggeman, VP of Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The dynamic nature of the cloud means that change is a constant when it comes to modern cloud-based infrastructure. Delivering modern applications to end users, therefore, is a constantly shifting challenge. Delivery automation helps IT Ops teams ensure that apps are providing an optimal end user experience over hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, no matter what the current state of the infrastructure is. To employ a delivery automation strategy that reflects your business rules, making r...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
As many know, the first generation of Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solutions were designed for managing virtual infrastructure (IaaS) and traditional applications. But that's no longer enough to satisfy evolving and complex business requirements. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, Embotics CTO, explored how next-generation CMPs ensure organizations can manage cloud-native and microservice-based application architectures, while also facilitating agile DevOps methodology. He expla...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...