We’ve heard rumors since last year that Google may be in partnership with Dish to launch a high-speed LTE wireless network. It seems Google is already testing a wireless network at their headquarters in Mountain View, and Google has named it “confidential” in their FCC report.
Apparently they are using frequencies in the 2524 to 2625 Mhz range, which are the frequencies Clearwire owns, so we might be looking at a partnership with Clearwire as well. I’m not sure what this means for Sprint and Softbank, which now owns a part of Sprint, but if they are involved, too, then we may be a looking at a pretty large change all these companies are preparing. It’s possible Google’s Clearwire deal has nothing to do with Sprint, though, and it might be because Dish is getting close to acquire Clearwire.
These frequencies work well in very populated areas, and China, Brazil and Japan are already building networks on them, so it could be a very important frequency range in the future for wireless networks, which means devices and modem makers will support it. It’s even more likely soft-modems like Nvidia’s Icera 500 will support it, as support for a given frequency simply has to be written into software, and you don’t need a dedicated part of the chip for it.
Soft-modems should also be what will finally unify wireless networks in the future, and should make it more likely for users to switch between different carriers, unless the carriers are blatantly locking other networks out, but even then you’ll probably be able to bypass that lock thanks to custom ROM’s like CyanogenMod, and the hacker community. But we’re still a few years away from all of that, until other modem makers besides Nvidia start using soft-modems.
Either way, Google will at least support these frequencies on their Motorola devices, and it looks like this wireless network is being tested by the Google Fiber team, which could mean Google could bundle this wireless service with the Google Fiber one in the future. Imagine buying Google’s 1 Gbit fiber for $70 a month, and then getting free or very cheap data for your Motorola Android devices, and only using VoLTE and VOIP for calling people (Google already offers free VOIP calling in US and Canada). That would be a pretty amazing future, if that’s what they are ultimately planning.