This past July, Google rolled out its Google Fiber +TV in both Kansas City, MO and Kansas City, KS but passed on including wireless phone service in the package, for now at least.
Google Fiber + TV is a broadband internet service with speeds of up to 1000 megabytes a second and a high-definition TV service that will compete with other cable and satellite providers. There are three different plans to choose from.
- The cheapest internet plan offers average speed with no data caps and service guaranteed free for at least the next seven years. The only catch is a $300 construction fee for a Network Box that must be purchased to access Google Fiber but this can be paid for over a period of 12 months.
- The next plan offers their Gigabit Internet for $70 a month. It also comes with no data caps, one gigabit upload and download speed, and 1 TB Google Drive storage. The Network box is included, so no $300 construction fee.
- The last plan offers everything above plus HDTV full channel lineup for $120 a month. The best part is their new Nexus 7 Android tablet is included as the remote.
Vice President of Google Access Service, Milo Medin, confirmed that the company has considered building its own wireless carrier network but decided against it due to all the regulations involved in the United States.
“We looked at doing that. The cost of actually delivering telephone services is almost nothing,” Medin said. “However, in the United States, there are all of these special rules that apply.”
It is a shame that a wireless plan wasn’t also an option, but this isn’t the first time a Google wireless service has been brought up. Last month Google and satellite TV company, Dish Network, has held talks to partner together to bring the voice and data service plan to mobile users. Dish Network already stated that they would like a partner to build a wireless network using spectrum they’ve been acquiring the past four years.
In 2008 Google lost to Verizon Wireless in a bid to buy 700-MHz spectrum in a FCC auction. That same year they bankrolled Clearwire, a WiMax system that includes Time Warner Cable and Comcast. This move would have allowed Android phones and devices to use the high-speed wireless network, effectively cutting carriers such as AT&T and Verizon out. But, it seemed to be mostly a threat to pressure the big name wireless carriers to back their Android phones. Now, they might be reconsidering. Dish Network’s already acquired spectrum combined with Google’s wireless towers and other business expertise would make perfect sense, but so far nothing has come of it.
There are still other options available if Google does decide to go the independent wireless carrier route. Google and T-Mobile go way back. T-Mobile was one of the first to join Google’s Open Handset Alliance and they were the only ones to support the first Nexus brand phones. Other carriers have made it more difficult for Android since most refuse to fully support unlocked devices. Verizon Wireless delayed updates and blocked Google Wallet. AT&T has problems getting the Nexus 4 up to top HSPA speeds. On the other hand, T-Mobile has been fully supportive of Android phones since launching the very first G1 phone.
If Google wants (and I’m sure they do) to continue to push Android devices with less carrier restrictions, they should look to T-Mobile as the solution. Google would benefit since the wireless carrier has all the wireless towers in place and better retail skills. This would also allow Google to have physical stores across the nation where customers can actually take their products to if they have any problems. Google has the superior resources and can easily acquire the needed spectrum. The carriers own leadership team has stated that the company won’t survive for much longer on its own. If T-Mobile fails it will mean less overall competition for customers, which isn’t an ideal situation. It is time for Google to be equally supportive of their long-time partner and buy T-Mobile.