Last week news broke that Google plans on launching a cell phone service, but little detail was released. The new Google cell phone plan was met with a lot of excitement as Google has a reputation for providing services to customers at very low prices (or free), so the cell phone industry might be in for a bit of shakeup.
But why would Google want to be in the cell phone business? They got into the high speed consumer internet provider business because America’s internet provider industry is a monopoly that provides low quality service, but the cell phone industry isn’t like that. At this point the cell phone industry doesn’t have huge profit margins, so why does Google want in?
Google is an advertising company, and what they care about is getting people on the internet so they can see all the ads Google is selling. For example, the ads you see on artofbeingcheap.com are provided by Google. So if Google wants to get into the cell phone industry it’s because they feel they have some way of getting a bunch more people to spend more time online at a cheaper price.
How? I don’t know, but there is one theory floating around I think makes a lot of sense. Before we get to that though, lets examine this list of facts.
Facts about Google and the cell phone business
- Google already has it’s toe in the phone business, with a product called Google Voice.
- Calls can be made over wifi using your Google Voice phone number and a variety of apps already available.
- Google Voice phone numbers are managed by a company called Bandwidth
- Bandwidth owns my favorite phone company, Republic Wireless.
- Republic Wireless provides ridiculously cheap cell phone service by providing hybrid phone service that works both over wifi and regular cell phone signals
- Republic Wireless phones have special technology in them that allows for wifi calls to be made
- All Republic Wireless phones are currently provided by Motorola which assisted Republic Wireless in developing this wifi calling technology.
- Google used to own Motorola. They recently sold the Motorola company, but kept many of its patents.
Wifi Calling from Google?
All this adds up to the theory that Google is planning on launching a wifi hybrid cell phone company similar to Republic Wireless and significantly beat the prices of all the traditional cell phone companies in order to lower the cost of wireless and get more people onto smart phones looking at Google Ads.
Will it be a partnership with Republic Wireless, a similar service with a bigger advertising budget, or has Google developed a new generation of Wifi calling? I am excited to see what these answers turn out to be in the next several months. My only suggestion at this point is don’t sign a long term cell contract any time soon, because chances are good that a lower cost service will be available soon.
Photo by Abdulrahaman Al-Eissa