Why Google, Amazon, And Apple Might Build Cell Networks

An interesting rumor making the rounds, that Google is discussing building out a wireless netwrok in partnership with Dish:

Google Wireless: Could an Alliance with Dish Make It Happen? | TIME.com

According to “people familiar with the discussions,” Google has talked with Dish Network about the possibility of creating a new wireless service. Although Dish is known mainly for its satellite TV offerings, the company is sitting on some unused wireless spectrum and has openly talked about building a new network with a partner. Google is one of the companies who has showed interest.

The negotiations weren’t in advanced stages, the Journal reports, so this could turn out to be nothing. Still, the idea of a wireless service from Google is interesting to think about, and it would make sense both to the company and to users.

Wireless carriers need disruption. They slather their phones–particularly Android devices–in bloatware that you can’t remove. They invent new fees without good reason. They find ways to charge you extra to use the data you already pay for. They stick their logos in unsightly places presumably just to remind you who’s boss.

There’s no guarantee a Google wireless service would provide the opposite experience, but at least Google has different motivations. Instead of simply trying to juice average revenue per user, Google’s priority is to get people hooked on Android so that they’re always buying apps and media and relying heavily on Google search.

A more general and more persuasive argument could be the benefits of better user experience in integrated solutions. For example, Amazon’s provisioning of WhisperNet for its Kindle devices – provided free, by the way – is a great example. A user simply buys a device and a minute later is downloading their first book, and reading it a minute after that.

Leaving aside the basic argument of Whispernet immediacy, consider other capabilities. Imagine if Apple was running the network I am using at this moment, tethered through my iPhone (on a train headed to NYC) instead of AT&T. I bet Apple, Amazon, or Google could figure out how to give me more bandwidth, so that I could really watch streaming video, wherever I go. 

If the mobile device becomes as fast as it needs to to support full video, why would we need cable in our homes and offices? We wouldn’t. Everyone would have their internet access with them everywhere, all the time.

And if the mobile device becomes the primary connect to the internet, then Apple, Google, and Amazon could pull a complete end run on the wireless companies and the cable companies. They could go directly to the TV networks and the sports cartels (NBA, NFL, Premier League), and pipe them through this new distribution system. 

Get ready for a huge shift.

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