This is seen as a threat to current US networks Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and the rest if Google follow their existing business model: free services in exchange for advertising. Google may also allow any phone to work on its network. So consumers who can unlock their handsets could transfer it to Google’s network for free service.
Google urged the Commission to adopt rules for the auction that ensure that, regardless of who wins the spectrum at auction, consumers’ interests are served. Specifically, Google encouraged the FCC to require the adoption of four types of "open" platforms as part of the license conditions:
Open applications: Consumers should be able to download and utilise any software applications, content, or services they desire;
Open devices: Consumers should be able to utilize a handheld communications device with whatever wireless network they prefer;
Open services: Third parties (resellers) should be able to acquire wireless services from a 700 MHz licensee on a wholesale basis, based on reasonably nondiscriminatory commercial terms; and
Open networks: Third parties (like internet service providers) should be able to interconnect at any technically feasible point in a 700 MHz licensee’s wireless network.
“While any embrace of open platforms is welcome, only if the FCC adopts all [Google’s] principles will we see the genuinely competitive marketplace that Americans deserve,” Google head of special initiatives Chris Sacca said, in his blog late last week. “In particular, guaranteeing open services and open networks would ensure that entrepreneurs starting new networks and services will have a fair shot at success, in turn giving consumers a wider choice of broadband providers.”
On another tangent, Ubiquisys Ltd, pioneer of intelligent 3G femtocell access points for the residential market, have announced it has secured $25 million from Google.
The Ubiquisys ZoneGate femtocell offers mobile users high-quality mobile coverage in the home using their usual 3G cell phones. The device plugs into an existing home broadband gateway or is built into a gateway product that includes WiFi, DSL, Ethernet, phone ports and USB.
Could Google be about to turn the US mobile industry on its head?