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Schmidt: Google isn't making cellular a "dumb pipe"

updated 01:00 pm EST, Tue February 16, 2010

Google CEO takes stance on mobile net neutrality

Google chief Eric Schmidt at his Mobile World Congress speech today refuted claims that his company is reducing cellular networks to a "dumb pipe." After being accused of hurting carriers by promoting net neutrality and fostering platforms like Android, the executive said he fundamentally disagreed with the premise and that, by necessity, Google needed a degree of control on the network. Carriers need to balance their network load and provide an ideal environment, Schmidt explained.

He added that Google's primary concern is choice of services, not quality. Customers on multiple carriers should have access to the same video, for example, but that the operators should have the option of adjusting quality or other factors if bandwidth is a problem. Responding to RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis' calls for phone vendors to control bandwidth as is done on the BlackBerry, Schmidt noted that Google can help control bandwidth use in its apps but that this depends on carriers giving it information.

Google won't build networks of its own on a broad level, he said, alluding to the 1Gbps Google Fiber project that some carriers fear could replace their own business.

On the current app market, the CEO further noted that his company never wants to make a given software feature Android-exclusive and usually wants them on "all" platforms. Special apps like Google Maps Navigation and Goggles are only available on Android so far, but the company has previously said it would like iPhone versions of these and others when possible.

Regardless of app availability, Android is doing well for the company and has now reached a tally of about 60,000 phones shipped per day, or twice as much as just a quarter ago.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Sep 1999

    +10

    What's wrong with that?

    A cellular connection should be a dumb pipe, just like a home phone line, or home water connection?

    Can you imagine if you were charged for water differently if you bought your faucet from them or from somewhere else?

  1. noibs

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2007

    +8

    Best thing for consumers

    Once the cell carriers are reduced to a "dumb pipes" consumers in the US will finally have achieved for others in the world take for granted.

    Nothing has held the US back more than the current powers reserved by each of the cell carriers.

    If there were true competition, things like texting would be free.

    Google and Apple should form an alliance with the sole goal of reducing all cell carriers to dumb pipes. Or...they should starting buying up the carriers and offer real competition.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +1

    Re: Best thing

    If there were true competition, things like texting would be free.

    How in the world do you go from 'dumb pipe' to 'free texting'?

    Nothing is ever free, you pay for it all. I have a land line with 'free' long distance. But it isn't 'free'. It costs $45 a month. And texting would never be free. The basic plan would go up in price by $5-$10 and they'll add in the 'free' texting, which of course they'll end up raking in even more money from the people who rarely if ever text.

    Or...they should starting buying up the carriers and offer real competition.

    How exactly would Apple and Google, by buying up the carriers, offer 'real' competition? You'd have the same number of carriers, if not less. That isn't creating competition, that's reducing it.

    And with Apple, what they'd do is take the plans and cut it down into one or two simple ones, which will cost on the high-end and include all those 'free' features like data and texting.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -3

    Oh..

    And you'll notice that the guy is saying he doesn't want it to be a dumb pipe, because he sees the point in having some control. Which, as we know, Apple also sees the point in having. Thus, the only ones looking for this are the consumers.

  1. DeepDish

    Forum Regular

    Joined: May 2001

    +2

    bits are bits

    I like the dumb pimp idea.

    bits are bits.

    text messages uses very few bits. video uses a lot of bits.

    if they want to charge based on the number of bits used, I am fine with that.

    but bits are bits.

  1. Woode

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2007

    +2

    I've asked before...

    ... what's the ultimate difference between the wired networks of the 1990s and the wireless ones of today? Not much once you get past the transmission medium and the hardware to make it work.

    Dumb pipes (er.. pimps... DeepDish?) are good!

  1. msuper69

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Jan 2000

    +3

    Text messages...

    don't use any extra bandwidth. They piggyback onto data packets used in communicating with the cell network.

  1. noibs

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2007

    +2

    Text Messaging

    This is a reply to one of the earlier comments.

    If cell phone hardware could be purchased independent of the carrier and if carriers were ONLY selling access to their network (like Internet access at home), then text messages would be free.

    There is zero marginal cost associated with text messages. The only reason customers pay for them today is that we don't have "dumb pipes" and therefore don't have real competition among cell carriers.

    What kind of computer hardware would you have a choice of today if the only way you could obtain internet access would be to buy your computer hardware the same company selling you internet access?

    If it weren't for the iPhone and Android, there would no hope of every getting out of this situation.



  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -5

    Re: Text Messaging

    There is zero marginal cost associated with text messages. The only reason customers pay for them today is that we don't have "dumb pipes" and therefore don't have real competition among cell carriers.


    There is cost to EVERYTHING. You might not think there's cost, but there is. h***, when people complain about Apple's 30% hardware margins, we're told that it is paying for all that R&D and to cover the costs of their other software that they are selling at a loss (like iWork, iLife, etc).

    But even regardless of that, let's say it had literally no cost. Let me ask you another question.

    WHY WOULD any carrier make them free?

    Texting is a freakin' cash cow! Texting is huge. Millions (billions?) text daily. None of this has been slowed down because of the cost. And how many people who want to text are NOT texting because of the cost?

    Besides all that, you make it sound like it would magically become free. It would not. At best, all they'll do is exactly what the carriers do for other popular services. Roll it into the basic plan and charge more overall. So, sure, you're not spending an extra $5-$10 a month on a 'texting' plan, but, on the other hand, you're spending $5-$10 a month on your monthly phone plan.

    And all that hurts is those that don't text and currently don't spend any money on a texting plan or text messages.

    If it weren't for the iPhone and Android, there would no hope of every getting out of this situation.

    Sorry, so far neither of these devices has made any move to get up out of this situation.

  1. OtisWild

    Junior Member

    Joined: Feb 2005

    +3

    Yay dumb pipes

    SMS messaging is carried in space that would otherwise be wasted as part of maintaining a connection from the phone to the nearest tower. Therefore, SMS is not 'without cost', but the cost is already paid by the phone subscriber as part of actually being able to connect from phone to tower! Therefore SMS message fees are purely free money to cellphone providers.

    I hope Google creates a truly dumb pipe and puts VoIP over packet data. f*** incumbent wireless providers, I hope they die of burning AIDS.

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