updated 11:50 am EDT, Thu May 24, 2007
Google as phone carrier?
Although rumors of Google creating its own cellphone have largely been dismissed, the company could be making a move which may put it in an even larger role in the industry, writes IDG News. The Federal Communications Commission is holding an auction for the 700MHz wireless band next year, and Google is contemplating participating. "We have not ruled in or out participating in the auction as a licensee," comments Google counsel Richard Whitt.
With access to the frequency, Google would be in a position to start its own cellphone network, particularly since the 700MHz frequency has longer range, diminishing the costs of building transmitters.
A proprietary network would offer two advantages to Google. While the company has been able to successfully get applications such as Maps on cellphones, this has been hampered by the sheer number of software platforms in use, each requiring its own implementation. Further blocking Google are the existing cellphone providers, who have imposed their own restrictions. Google would eventually like to bring its advertising regime into the mobile world.
Even if Google did not offer cellphone plans, it might be able to run its own auctions for the new band, selling access to third-party carriers and MVNOs. "Whether or not we do get involved [in the FCC auction]," Whitt says, "we see some value in creating these kinds of platforms."