back to article Is Google really mulling building a US cellphone network? Allegedly, yes

Google is in the early stages of planning to roll out its own cellphone network, an upstart tech news wire is claiming. The Information cited a pair of sources who had spoken to Google to discuss providing wireless services, including voice calls and mobile data, where the web giant has built up its US fiber broadband network …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google owning a cellphone network?

    What could possibly go wrong?

  2. Knoydart

    let me be your fibre provider

    So correct me if I'm wrong but did not google take over dying fibre from others who had built it to become a fibre provider? If that is the case, who's cell towers and spectrum are they going to leverage off to build the wireless part of the chocolate factory ad serving machine?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: let me be your fibre provider

      Unless they buy the assets of a company that has actual tower sites with leases already signed, this might be easier said than done. Even companies like AT&T and Verizon who have been doing this a long long time have a hard time getting leases for new cell sites, with NIMBYs everywhere complaining they have only one bar at home but fighting tooth and nail when someone wants to put up a cell tower that's visible from their house or anywhere near their kid's school.

    2. Swarthy

      Re: let me be your fibre provider

      Hmm.. T-mobile (US) seems to have been courting buyers for some time now. That would give the G-Men a very nice start, but at what cost to T-Mobile users' privacy?

      Having said that, I think I would rather Google buy T-Mobile (US) than AT&T.

  3. brooxta

    Open Strategy

    (Tl;dr see last para)

    If today's Google still takes its original "don't be evil" motto even a little bit seriously then I think they need to be very clear and up front about their strategy behind this. There are at least two possibilities:

    1) This is an effort on Google's part to use their substantial profits to reinvest in the tech ecosystem that makes them rich and benefit everyone by raising the bar.

    They did something like this most obviously with Chrome, although to a less altruistic extent they did it with Gmail too. Clearly Google benefit from people using Chrome in that they get search via the address bar and they encourage people to be always logged in to Google even when using their PCs, but they have also released most of the source code via the Chromium project. And many of the speedups (eg JavaScript) that people using Firefox and MSIE have enjoyed in recent years have come through the competition that Chrome has introduced to the browser market.

    It could be that Google's motivation here is to provide such an improved telco experience that other telcos have to raise their game to stay in contention and everyone benefits. If that's the case then they need to commit to that and offer some assurances about how they will proceed in a way that respects privacy etc. It's fair to say that Google has had issues in this area in the past, so we need those.

    2) However, it could be that this is just another bid at grabbing data wholesale. That is the thing that makes the most sense. After all information is money, and we know how much Google loves data. With access to people's phone calls and text messages they have NSA style access to metadata at the very least. And if they offer Google Voice style transcription services (and why wouldn't they, it's a great value-add) then they have complete access to content too without a warrant etc. Something the NSA can (should) only dream of (except of course that if Google has it then the NSA has it too).

    I'm beginning to think that somewhere down the line we are going to need legislation that protects against information monopolization as well as market monopolization.

    1. RyokuMas Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Open Strategy

      My money's on option 2... no big business does anything purely for altruism

      1. bigtimehustler

        Re: Open Strategy

        No, but I dont think option 1 suggests that either does it? More internet use on whatever device benefits Google anyway, through increased ad returns.

  4. Pete the not so great

    Perhaps ...

    they'll make it free, supported by ads

  5. Tommy Pock

    "We're interrupting this call to bring you some important messages. You can cancel this ad in 30 seconds..."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'd be less concerned about the ads, and more concerned they'd set it up, promote it heavily, and then not make any changes for 3+ years while dismissing any issues due to the fact it's a 'beta' service.

  6. phil dude

    mesh networks?

    perhaps the goog is thinking out further and perhaps mesh networking becomes possible with

    a) enough clients

    b) proximal high bandwidth pipes.

    The comment about NIMBY's seems like it might the crux here

    However, since google has already caused an upset with their 1Gbs domestic fibre connections we should perhaps give them a bit of leeway to let them tip their hand....

    Add more cities google!!


  7. Comments are attributed to your handle

    "You must sign into Google+ to complete the call as dialed"

  8. W.O.Frobozz

    Dear Google

    Please build your network in Canada. We badly need it.


    All of Canada.

    1. Tony Paulazzo

      Re: Dear Google

      Yea, as much as everyone screams they're black hats in sheeps clothing, they are at least trying to shake up the telecoms industry in their country and introducing new ideas in the tech world.

      I for one would welcome the Google overlord in the UK, I doubt they'd be any worse than the current lot - and we'd get free stuff!!! Just use Adblock. ;)

  9. jnffarrell1

    Google knows digital info is too important to waste bandwidth

    Maybe just maybe, Google will attach a voice message in your dialect, to a Now Card sent to you JIT to assist with a decision "Where to next",for example could be only a few kilobits or even 1000 kbits download. Where you are, could be a tiny upload. All of Google personal assistance could take 1/1000th of a sec, every ten seconds. Google knows how not to waste your time, telcos know how to keep you desperate for personalized info.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The iBeacons are all gunning for Google

    I'd ask Siri if that was true but it uses up my tiny A T & T data allowance.

    And I'd do a pretty 3D web site to explain this but not being an iAd you IOS lot are not allowed to try see through any game I'm up to.

    On topic, if they are mulling this would it not be a WIfi based network allowing the smaller players to piggy back?

  11. S 11

    Babble, Towers of

    Google knows it's way around city, state and federal bureaucracy.

    Having acquired right-of-way knowledge during Fiber rollouts this sounds like a natural extension of their acknowledgement to shareholders that they're serious about deploying for mobile.

    To compete, Facebook could partner with Amazonian package drones to broadcast wifi signal while the drone is moving between deliveries. Or something.

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