I read the news on La Stampa a couple of weeks ago and thought I would see it all over the place so I did not pay too much attention to it. Google pledged to spend $4.6bn in a wireless spectrum auction by the US Government taking place this November. I went back and googled, hem, searched the news. The Guardian says:
Google looks likely to enter the US wireless market after the Federal Communications Commission bowed to pressure to change the way it plans to sell off part of the airwaves this year.
The Californian dotcom group is part of a consortium called the Coalition for 4G in America that is pushing for a portion of the US wireless spectrum, to be auctioned off in November, to be made available for "open access".
The coalition - which also includes Intel, Skype and Yahoo! - does not want all the spectrum controlled by the usual mobile phone companies. It wants a host of new operators to be able to use the spectrum on a wholesale basis so that any device running any application can get online while on the move.
Last month Google pledged to spend at least $4.6bn (£2.3bn) in the auction if its demands were met by the FCC. In a letter to the chairman of the FCC, Google's chief executive, Eric Schmidt, said: "In short, when Americans can use the software and handsets of their choice, over open and competitive networks, they win."
The idea is to make it easier for US fixed-line internet users to get online when out and about. Google's telecom and media counsel Richard Whitt said:
"None of us like how the current system locks you into wireless service plans that limit the kind of phone or PDA you can use, prevent you from downloading and using the software of your choice, and charge you hefty termination fees if you try to get out. And it's hard to ignore how the existing wireless carriers talk a good game about the virtues of the free market but prefer to keep us stuck in their closed market."
As I wrote in a post not long ago about the deal AT&T made with Steve Jobs to get the contract for the iPhone, the most improbable and impractical expensive device with no keyboard that has gotten so much attention, and bandwidth from the giant phone company, it's about time we begin to unlock customers and let them have what they want and need, wherever and whenever they choose to have it delivered.
Google just won the first round. They might still be facing the uphill battle to try and forge wireless deals. Right now the big carriers are having a field day with a lock on the marketplace and on what we can and cannot do. What do you think Google's strategy should be when approaching wireless carriers? Should the wireless companies play? Why?