Take Two: Google's Wireless Ambitions

17 thoughts on “Take Two: Google's Wireless Ambitions”

  1. You’re assuming they will provide support. All of Google’s products – unless you’re in the top percentile as a paying customer – are self-serve. Open wireless network with an ad supported and paid premium model where only the paid people get any kind of support. Perhaps the support is through a partnership with an existing carrier who also gets to use the wireless spectrum.

  2. It hardly seems fair to calculate the opportunity cost to Google as merely lost interest income. Perhaps its cost of capital instead? Or, better yet, the returns on other investment opportunities it has to forgo to deploy its cash to build out a wireless network?

  3. It will be interesting to see how the advent of the gPhone will affect YouTube’s fortunes. The NewsVisual article on Google’s Open Handset Alliance http://www.newsvisual.com/newsvisual/2007/11/google-and-moto.html implies that it’s really personal connections among business leaders that determine future success in the competitive marketplace. Maybe, YouTube needs to form the right business connections as a precondition to monetization.

  4. I agree. I think Google building the network on their own would be a last resort. There are just too many other parties that have much to gain from this and would participate, and Google would welcome it as long as they are bringing something to the table. Om, your prediction last week may be “crazy” but I certainly wouldn’t bet against something along those lines.

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    1. The phone companies have never wanted to be landlords.
    2. Being a landlord long term is a good business.
    3. Google could be a good landlord and rent space on its network to others and make a killing.

    If the mobile operators worked on providing the finest networks, Google provided the best search (Focus on One thing is in their 10 commandments) and search-related ad network, while renting space to other more traditional ad networks and taking a cut all will work out fine.

    I believe I was at a conference where it was suggested – ask Andy Seybold –
    a) the C block was not enough for a nationwide service
    b) it was about $17B to build out a nationwide network

    However, Google is algorithm driven – with good compression -aside from Shannon – maybe you can increase capacity – or better still get your uses – a la Meraki – to build out the expensive last 50 yds of the network – so maybe Google knows something about the C block that isn’t generally recognized and they have figured out how to monetize it.

    Just let’s hope the shareholders give Eric and co the leeway to invest properly and not make them go for short term profits as has hampered so many other potential strategic investments.

  5. Infrastructure builds, along with spectrum licenses, are w/o question the biggest barrier to entry. Rights of way. Leasing costs. Sheer hell. If Google’s big stick can make carriers build better networks with more capacity, hallelujah. Mobile carriers seem interested mostly in finding every way possible to dodge CAPEX while simultaneously trying to reduce subscriber churn fed up with dropped calls and spotty coverage. Om, we must hope that the Google stick can reverse current trends.

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