Google could be entering the wireless market as a carrier. What would this mean for the consumers? It would most likely be a good thing, but there could be issues too.
Google has made some deals with Sprint and T-Mobile to help them test out the wireless market. These deals would allow Google to sell phones through their own services but it would operate on spectrum owned by Sprint and T-Mobile. This is the same way that companies like Cricket Wireless operate, as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). It seems as though they have a plan to use Wi-Fi as the main network and fall back on the Sprint and T-Mobile lines when they are out of range. Using Wi-Fi as the main network is also how Republic Wireless works.
Will anything come out of this deal? Google has supposedly had plans for this type of thing for a while, but nothing has come out of it so far. This time it seems a little more real since they aren’t just working out of Mountain View. Could this just be a way for them to test another market? Maybe they are hoping to put pressure on the big players the way they are with Google Fiber. Maybe they are really pushing for change in the wireless industry that is currently bogged down by the big players with outdated policies.
You may be thinking, great another market Google is trying to push itself into, but it might actually be great for consumers. Imagine a world where you could bring any unlocked phone on to a system that isn’t over charging you to make up for the subsidized price of the phones it sells. The data plans wouldn’t jump up in price in ways that don’t follow any logic, a place that unlimited may actually mean unlimited. Sure most of these dreams are far away, but Google could be the one to make it more feasible. They could also shut all of that down too. They might only allow phones that are purchased through their store on the network, or maybe only phones running full versions of Android. I think that is probably less likely but anything is possible.
While a wireless network from Google is probably pretty far away still, the fact that they are testing the waters should be something that all consumers can look forward to. Anything that is disrupting the big players in this field is good for all of us, as Verizon and AT&T seem to be unstoppable.