Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google Wants To Be a Wireless Carrier

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the google-calling dept.

Google 151

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."

cancel ×

151 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Shut up and take my money (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Shut up and take my money (5, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#42000397)

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.

Re:Shut up and take my money (2)

Adriax (746043) | about 2 years ago | (#42001529)

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.

Re:Shut up and take my money (4, Insightful)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about 2 years ago | (#42000435)

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.

Re:Shut up and take my money (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Shut up and take my money (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 2 years ago | (#42000647)

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.

Re:Shut up and take my money (4, Insightful)

chill (34294) | about 2 years ago | (#42000975)

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.

Re:Shut up and take my money (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 2 years ago | (#42001053)

Cheaper than banging a known porn star is making your own porn. Check craigslist for the "porn star experience" which is a hooker and a video camera. (You keep the video afterwards.)

Re:Shut up and take my money (3, Insightful)

EvilBudMan (588716) | about 2 years ago | (#42000761)

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:Shut up and take my money (2, Funny)

Vintermann (400722) | about 2 years ago | (#42001057)

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

Re:Shut up and take my money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42001543)

and you dont think the statistics they get from searches, android phones, and tablets do do that already?

Re:Shut up and take my money (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#42000617)

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

YEOW! MY PANTALOONS ARE AFLAME! (2)

Thud457 (234763) | about 2 years ago | (#42000879)

two words : mesh networking.

Android phones for everybody and their dog. literally.

Re:YEOW! MY PANTALOONS ARE AFLAME! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42001481)

Android phones for everybody and their dog.

No thanks. I'd jchoose a feature phone over Android garbage. The deature phone's UI will also be less laggy.

Re:Shut up and take my money (3, Insightful)

neonKow (1239288) | about 2 years ago | (#42000651)

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!

Re:Shut up and take my money (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Shut up and take my money (3, Insightful)

Vintermann (400722) | about 2 years ago | (#42001081)

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.

Re:Shut up and take my money (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#42001171)

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

Re:Shut up and take my money (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#42000467)

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

Re:Shut up and take my money (5, Interesting)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#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

Re:Shut up and take my money (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42000605)

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.

Re:Shut up and take my money (2)

blueg3 (192743) | about 2 years ago | (#42000945)

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).

Re:Shut up and take my money (1)

jpstanle (1604059) | about 2 years ago | (#42001561)

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?

Re:Shut up and take my money (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | about 2 years ago | (#42001577)

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?

Re:Shut up and take my money (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42000625)

When the current crop of American wireless carriers look like a group of mustache-twirling Bond villains

Their not that sophisticated. Think thug-life-yo gangsta niggas. In suits.

Re:Shut up and take my money (0)

JackieBrown (987087) | about 2 years ago | (#42001183)

When the current crop of American wireless carriers look like a group of mustache-twirling Bond villains

I miss the world domination Bond villains. They have been replaced by evil capitalists - which makes cultural sense since anyone raised in today's schools see capitalists as the nazis of our time.

Google Voice ++ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42000399)

A couple of features:

* Transcription of all my voice calls available in Gmail for my leisurely perusal later on
* If I call someone who speaks a language I don't understand, please provide instant in-call audio translation if I select this option

and oh, first post!

Re:Google Voice ++ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42000553)

Too late, you lose.

And so it begins... (0, Offtopic)

jennatalia (2684459) | about 2 years ago | (#42000411)

For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed: And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!

Re:And so it begins... (3, Funny)

chill (34294) | about 2 years ago | (#42000993)

You forgot "3. Profit!"

Formation (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 2 years ago | (#42000417)

Big brother was listening and reccommends Holiday Inn Express and Chipotle. God bless you and god bless America and death to terrorororisyts.

Good (4, Insightful)

dnahelicase (1594971) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42000555)

Unless google recognizes that their content is going across ATT in that area and starts delaying the release of those packets.

That would mean that Google Search would be fast for their own network...but slower (in that area) for ATT.

Don't you love NetNeutrality?

Re:Good (1)

Teckla (630646) | about 2 years ago | (#42001237)

Unless google recognizes that their content is going across ATT in that area and starts delaying the release of those packets.

That would mean that Google Search would be fast for their own network...but slower (in that area) for ATT.

Don't you love NetNeutrality?

It seems very unlikely Google would intentionally make their main product perform poorly on purpose, as it would just encourage people to use competitor's products instead (e.g., Bing).

I think it's a mistake (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#42000429)

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

Re:I think it's a mistake (3, Interesting)

Enry (630) | about 2 years ago | (#42000479)

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

Re:I think it's a mistake (1)

Eskarel (565631) | about 2 years ago | (#42000509)

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 any consequence will happen to them.

Re:I think it's a mistake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42000599)

Actually, vertical integration is one of the definitions of a monopoly

Really? That's a very strange definition you've got there. One would think a sensible definition is "Controlling over 50% of the market and using that control to further ones interests at the expense of viable competition." Maybe that's just me.

Re:I think it's a mistake (1)

EvilBudMan (588716) | about 2 years ago | (#42000787)

Horizontal integration is a monopoly not vertical. I thought everyone knew that.

Damn, too early in the morning to tell even a half decent joke.

Re:I think it's a mistake (1)

aitikin (909209) | about 2 years ago | (#42000609)

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 antitrust lawsuit brought by the Fed soon, I'd be surprised. Now if it's funded by the competition, well that I can see. Of course, the Fed is funded by the competition, so, one into the other...

Re:I think it's a mistake (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about 2 years ago | (#42001109)

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

Re:I think it's a mistake (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 2 years ago | (#42001761)

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.

Re:I think it's a mistake (1)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about 2 years ago | (#42000533)

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.)

Re:I think it's a mistake (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | about 2 years ago | (#42000797)

Being vertically integrated does not make a monopoly.

Re:I think it's a mistake (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 2 years ago | (#42001491)

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

Re:I think it's a mistake (2)

gclef (96311) | about 2 years ago | (#42001157)

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 legal if it's something that Verizon or Sprint could also do (data mining user behavior and selling SMS ads based on user behavior, for example). On the other hand, if google pays for it by simply taking money from their search ads & intentionally losing money on free wireless, that would probably be illegal.

Finally. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42000431)

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

oh yes. game on. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42000439)

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 (3, Interesting)

trout007 (975317) | about 2 years ago | (#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?

Re:Technical Question (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42000511)

Because true competition doesn't exist in that market. Obviously there is a demand for what you ask -- and the only thing that could possibly stop the market from supplying that demand is the coercive power of government.

Re:Technical Question (3, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#42000513)

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.

Re:Technical Question (1)

trout007 (975317) | about 2 years ago | (#42000539)

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

Re:Technical Question (4, Informative)

kriebz (258828) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Technical Question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42000641)

Texts are sent with the 'ping's that the phone sends to keep in contact with a tower. Essentially, they are free for the network, but they charge $ridiculous for it anyway.

Re:Technical Question (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#42001325)

That's completely untrue.

Cellular cells have control channels. The control channel is used to transmit texts. It's also used to set up calls. It's also a fixed size and has limited capacity.

I don't know where this myth comes from that SMS messages are "free" (ie do not take bandwidth), but let me posit an obvious point: if they were, wouldn't the inventors of GSM have routed all voice calls over specially encoded SMS packets instead?

Re:Technical Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42000549)

Circuit Switched Connection Oriented,
Packet Switch Connection Less, ...

I think it has something to do with the underlying network, I doubt that your voice call actually uses the same network/equipment as your smartphones network link.

Re:Technical Question (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42000913)

A lot of backhaul is now packet switched.
Circuit switched stuff is going the way of the dodo.

VoLTE will bring an end to there even being a difference at the end point.

Re:Technical Question (1)

Eskarel (565631) | about 2 years ago | (#42000579)

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 the same as the way data is, and we've gotten very good at encoding voice over the last hundred years or so which means that a minute talking on the phone doesn't use the same amount of bandwidth as one minute using your maximum 4g bandwidth(and generally only involves peering with other players in the same market).

For the most part though, the reason why voice is so much cheaper than data is because it's a phone and however much people don't actually talk on them much anymore, if phone calls were super expensive no one would buy the things.

Re:Technical Question (1)

Ian_CG (724115) | about 2 years ago | (#42000595)

Voice has to be given priority to keep the latency within acceptable limits (otherwise you get an effect like satellite delay). The flight time from the phone to the tower is fixed (based on speed of light), but the time when your phone is next allowed to transmit (i.e. when its turn comes) can be altered, as can the back-haul (i.e. the link from the tower to the internet or tower to voice gateway). I suspect (but have no proof) that data is deliberately retarded and jittered (e.g. volatile ping time) to make VoIP very poor quality over the cellular network. I see no technical reason why I shouldn't be able to buy high-priority traffic (i.e. at a premium) and use it for whatever I want - be that VoIP, gaming, or just because I want that download now! Its all about maximising profit per user, not providing the best service.

Re:Technical Question (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42000937)

Yeah Ideally we could buy X MB/GB at Y priority and select what traffic gets it. For most only Voip would need a good QOS, the rest could be unsorted.

Re:Technical Question (5, Informative)

YoopDaDum (1998474) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Technical Question (2)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#42001155)

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 generally allocated a channel to itself, data was generally allocated channels, and so on.

The most "expensive" is actually the system everyone thinks is the cheapest - SMS. Generally SMS goes on the signalling channel, the channel you use to set up and tear down calls. You can actually take down a cell tower by getting a handful of phones to constantly transmit SMS messages.

So yeah, given they use bandwidth in slightly different ways, you'd expect different charging models.

On top of that, bear in mind that LTE or not different applications have different usage scenarios. You generally expect a heavy voice user to use it for two or three hours a day, at most. At around 2k per second, that's only about 400-700 megabytes of data per month. The original "Unlimited" data plans were propsed when carriers actually expected data usage to be a fraction of that, because people would just be checking their email and browsing mobile websites, and, given users could expect a lower quality of service for that data, it was kinda assumed by carriers that giving someone unlimited data wouldn't actually result in significantly more network use.

Re:Technical Question (1)

jittles (1613415) | about 2 years ago | (#42001245)

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. They charge what they do because people will pay it.

I just wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42000447)

if my Microsoft Kin phone will work with it.

where do i sign up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42000453)

ill pre-order right now!

Google is more evil than Microsoft ever was (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42000485)

Re:Google is more evil than Microsoft ever was (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42000853)

You're not wrong

http://googleopoly.net/Googles_Rap_Sheet.pdf [googleopoly.net]

Why not just buy someone? (2)

Fished (574624) | about 2 years ago | (#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?

They won't buy CDMA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42000545)

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.

Re:They won't buy CDMA (1)

SavedLinuXgeeK (769306) | about 2 years ago | (#42000895)

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.

Re:They won't buy CDMA (1)

tobiasly (524456) | about 2 years ago | (#42001459)

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...

Re:Why not just buy someone? (1)

Stolpskott (2422670) | about 2 years ago | (#42000681)

Buying a network in a market where there are already very few viable competitors, in addition to Google's vertical integration, would see Google's actions flagged as a monopolistic/anti-competitive move.
Setting up a new network, even with the capital infrastructure costs involved, would probably be of the same order of magnitude as the cost of buying a competitor while also allowing Google free reign to implement the infrastructure their way. Bearing in mind that the smartphone market is driving mobile bandwidth usage, and the smartphone/tablets are basically small computers, Google's interpretation of a cellular network is probably closer to a WAN for mobile devices with VoIP/voice as a carrier service as an aside, while the existing carriers have networks structured for voice, to which they are trying to add smartphone data services.

Re:Why not just buy someone? (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about 2 years ago | (#42001123)

Vertical integration. You keep using those words. What do you mean with it, exactly, in this context?

Re:Why not just buy someone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42000751)

That is kinda like saying you have the money to buy a new car but instead you should just buy a used one that has unknown mechanical problems and tons of body filler plastered all over it to make the morons who look at it think it is new and shiny. If I were in Google's position, I'd rather create a network the way I wanted it created and not have to deal with someone's half-arsed infrastructure solutions, employee relations/unions blunders, and all the other crap. It isn't like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint are paragons of business efficiency. They probably have more legacy cruft than would be worth taking on.

Re:Why not just buy someone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42000985)

More like designing a new electric car that was considered unfeasible by the other companies, but ends up revolutionizing the car industry.

Here's to dreaming of a Google future! :P

Re:Why not just buy someone? (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 2 years ago | (#42000935)

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 took so long to get fixed (if they ever did.) The engineer just hadn't gotten to the bottom of the box, yet. And then half the time you get some stupid press-on tattoo...

I'm also pretty sure that acquiring Spring would lower Google's average IQ by about 75 points. It'd be a great deal for Sprint, though. Maybe Sprint should pay Google to take them.

Re:Why not just buy someone? (1)

chill (34294) | about 2 years ago | (#42001039)

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.

Re:Why not just buy someone? (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about 2 years ago | (#42001487)

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.

Re:Why not just buy someone? (1)

chill (34294) | about 2 years ago | (#42001675)

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 implementation. With CDMA 3G it is an option that not everyone supports.
4. GSM is more extensible, with things like HSPA and HSPA+ bringing data speeds up to 42 Mbps on their "3G". CDMA was much less flexible in doing that. It is 3G (3.6 Mbps) or a full upgrade to LTE.

And, just to be thorough, "GSM" is the 2G stuff only. Any "GSM" 3G is really WCDMA.

Re:Why not just buy someone? (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about 2 years ago | (#42001749)

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

Thanks.

Re:Why not just buy someone? (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about 2 years ago | (#42001307)

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. They would have to consume over half of their cash reserves at a minimum which would put them into something of an all-or-nothing move into the carrier business. Taking a hit like that if it doesn't work out or being forced to take another 3-5b hit after they make the purchase due to having to gut the company and restructure isn't something they should do.

They may be forced to buy someone to get the spectrum however.

Yea cause I wanna give a company that sells (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42000507)

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...

Re:Yea cause I wanna give a company that sells (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42000627)

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...

Facebook is also trying to build its own cellular network? :-)

Re:Yea cause I wanna give a company that sells (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42001369)

Google is worse than Facebook in their reach, but I'd never give Facebook any of my business either :D

Bring it! (2)

slashgordo. (2772763) | about 2 years ago | (#42000515)

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.

Just Wonder'n (1)

shine (1502) | about 2 years ago | (#42000581)

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

to summarize... (1)

tfocker4 (2750497) | about 2 years ago | (#42000613)

Hooray for more competition in a Marley with absurd profits. Boo that it's google because they're even more monolithic than the smartphone market.

Not news since Android introduction! (1)

aglider (2435074) | about 2 years ago | (#42000715)

Do you think Google designed, develops and supports Android just for the sake of glory?

How does this even make sense? (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | about 2 years ago | (#42000827)

How does working with a satellite TV provider help one build a cellular phone network?

Re:How does this even make sense? (1)

chill (34294) | about 2 years ago | (#42001047)

Dish owns spectrum and can provide remote backhaul.

I think I speak for myself... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42000829)

when I say "do not want".

And the Google love should stop there (2)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#42000867)

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.

Meh... (1)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about 2 years ago | (#42000917)

I don't know what to think of something like this. On the one hand, it could start out good... but then, anything looks good up against the typical AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon. Even a rock in the rectangular shape of a cell phone that you beat your head with repeatedly until you pass out in a crimson puddle sounds more appealing. But then on the other hand, they'll probably subject you to even more ads than their phones do now with free apps, and it would be throughout the entire phone service, so if that's the way it would be I would have to pass. In fact, I would have to see how Google goes when it comes to advertising on their network for over a year before I'd even consider them for cell phone service.

Their ads on the web are irrelevant to me because I don't see them, but it's a given that anything they release will not be open enough to perform such blocking.

Hurry up, then, Google. (1)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#42000987)

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 to change the rules. So my 3G connection would actually hit technical, not political, limits and I can just pay to compensate for any impact at a rate that provides reasonable profit for a realistic cost.

Google would seem to be the ideal ones to overturn the data problems. Hell, I'd pay MORE than I'm currently on for an unlimited-data (properly!) connection that doesn't limit Skype / Google Voice and doesn't give me any voice or SMS service whatsoever. Such things just don't exist.

When offices are going VoIP and everything else is "oIP" in some fashion now, trying to sell me the end service without giving me access to the "IP" side of things is just profiteering and a backwards technological step.

Don't even get me started on differing and extortionate international rates even when your carrier has a presence in both countries (I once heard the argument that telecoms companies "fund" those underwater cables to other countries etc. and so deserve to charge more for their international services - I guarantee you more traffic transits internationally for general Internet purposes than does anything related to voice telecoms, and if it *doesn't* then the transit can be paid for directly without needing telecoms voice traffic to buoy it up).

Re:Hurry up, then, Google. (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about 2 years ago | (#42001163)

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.

Don't be evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42001175)

The bigger Google has grown, and with each additional service, they have made it harder for themselves to follow their "don't be evil" mantra. It is just too tempting to delve into all of that data. What is usually overlooked (especially when you have cartoon-character-esque dollar signs over your eyeballs) is how easy it will be for all of your private conversations to become much, much less private. All it takes is a line in their never-read-yet-always-accepted EULA that includes "is allowed to store my calls on their servers", then any government in the world will be able to have access to your phonecalls. Sure, there may be a bit of bureaucratic red-tape to get the data, but when has that ever stopped anything?

Sure, that sounds tinfoil hat-ish, but apply this situation to the following situations: 1) Google released a huge amount of "anonymized" data that ended up (shockingly) becoming much less anonymous after it became appearant that the data could be cross-referenced against itself to build a profile for each anonymous user # -- and eventually put a name to that number. And 2.) a recent incident involving anonymous speech and a certain south-east Asian monarch (who shall remain nameless because I don't want to be extradited to Thailand for something I wrote on the internet in a completely different country)...

Well... it all still seems tinfoil hat-ish, but now slightly less so...

Oh yay! (1)

cxnulll (1634803) | about 2 years ago | (#42001531)

Google Fiber is coming to our phones? Brilliant!

New network -- skip legacy (1)

crow (16139) | about 2 years ago | (#42001537)

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?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>