Google Bids on Wireless

Google to launch wireless service?Google announced that they will bid at least 4.6 billion for the so called 700  mhz wireless block that is to be made available for wireless providers, according to the FT today.

This move is particularly interesting, considering this passage from the FT article:

The winning bidder for part of the spectrum would be required to adopt “open access” provisions that would let customers use any handset and access any internet service over the network, without needing the approval of the operator – a form of “network neutrality” that echoes similar provisions internet companies have pushed for, so far without success, on wired networks.

While there are smarter minds than mine to analyze this, it sounds to me like we’re creating a wireless internet here.  At the very least, we’ll be looking at a GooPhone…

Om Malik notes that AT&T isn’t very happy with the bid, esp. since it comes with proposed change sto the way 700 mhz will be implemented: non-discriminatory access for all providers.  Read his post here, and check out the AT&T comment.

MarketingVox notes that the big winners in this, if Google wins, is the consumers. The four Google demands, from their post:

  • Open applications
  • Open devices
  • Open services
  • Open networks 
  • It sounds to me like we’re looking at a new wireless service band that won’t be limited to just phones.  I imagine that Google’s possibly got a ubiquitous access plan in mind, something along the lines of the EVDO service from Verizon.  Hmmm….

    However, Jim Forbes has another take on this.  He’s got a post up (pre-announcement) that notes that the the next step in the wireless/iPhone saga is location relative ecommerce and search.  I posted this bit before I read his post, and now it’s all clear to me.  Google is interested in wireless because they see it as the next step for search.  Read Jim’s post here, and try to remember he put it up *before* this announcement.  To put this into context, a quote:

    The segment of the iphone ad showing someone reacting to  a spur of the moment whim for seafood and using his iPhone to pull up a list of nearby restaurants and their locations is the best example I’ve seen yet of location or presence-based commerce.

    It’s an important component in mobile services and its probably going to become one of Google’s, not Apple’s or AT&T’s, crown jewels.

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