Jan 24 AT 10:08 AM Dustin Earley 80 Comments

Is Google experimenting with building a wireless network?

google-sim-card Image via: Robert Scoble with Creative Commons

Google is not afraid to be disruptive. They’ve proved it time and time again with services like Google Voice, software like Android and most recently, with Google Fiber; Google’s experiment in being an Internet and television provider that threatens to turn an entire industry on its head. So what’s next? How about a wireless network?

Something is going on in Mountain View. According to a handful of FCC filings, Google is looking to test 50 base stations using 200 devices on what appears to be a wireless LTE network operating on 2524-2546 and 2567-2625 MHz bands[1]. Some sort of proprietary network for Google employees isn’t out of the question, and Google experimenting with wireless technology is nothing new, but a few too many things have perfectly aligned surrounding Google’s mystery network that could point to it being more than what it appears.

The bands being used for the network are those of Clearwire’s. That wouldn’t be a big deal, if it weren’t for Dish’s attempts at purchasing Clearwire, and recent rumors that Google may be forming a partnership with Dish to start a wireless network. But that’s not all. Even if you ignored the fact that Google is using wireless spectrum that has to be licensed instead of spectrum that doesn’t, and that it’s spectrum that has been tied to recent rumors that Google is looking to start it’s own wireless network, they want to keep the entire thing as quiet as possible.

When requesting to have certain parts of the filings redacted, Google’s lawyers offered up a reasonable explanation: “The information for which confidential treatment is sought concerns the highly competitive consumer electronics market.” That doesn’t sound like a test or another experiment, it sounds like Google is working on something big. This could shape up to be one crazy year.


  1. Steven Crowley

Via: The Verge

Source: Wall Street Journal

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • acidone

    Hopefully this turns into something….. Competition is good for us, the consumers.

    • surg3d

      Agreed. I would not think twice about leaving Sprint for Google Wireless. :)

      • darkjuan

        Also agreed. I would totally leave T-Mobile for Google!

      • Steve Barry

        I hear ya. I was long hoping Google would be the ones to buy Sprint instead of SoftBank as they already seemed to have a pretty good relationship. I guess it was just too good to be true, but I’m willing to ditch almost any service I have if Google comes out with something.

        [insert any ISP here]? I would leave them for Google Fiber
        Sprint? I would leave them for Google Air (is that a name of something already?)

        Whatever Google does, they usually do it well. If not, they ditch it right away and come up with something better, but wireless isn’t new, so I have no doubt they would have a great network.

        • epps720

          The thing is, with Google is that you know they will put in the $$ to make sure they have a good infrastructure. So if we could get a quality network at what i would imagine would be at a discounted price compared to the other networks. Who wouldn’t want this!!

    • RevSpaminator

      With all the major carriers looking for ways to jack up rates and add extra ‘fees’, it would be a breath of fresh air to see Google shake things up.

    • sbala

      They They should roll out worldwide.

      • awundrin

        I agree and I hope it happens. Looking forward to reading more about this in the near future hopefully!

      • bugwan

        I suggest they roll out their test network in Australia first…nothing to do with the fact I’m here and ready :)

  • Nate B.

    I can see Apple trying to do something like this if Google blows this up. I hope Google becomes a wireless carrier as well.


    If this is the case, I can’t wait to see what they are going to do in terms of plans or pricing. I got to assume it will be contract free service. But I also wonder if it will be all VoIP meaning no minutes, but calls will go over data using Google voice.

    • Co1e

      I could see this. Its like what republic wireless is doing. I dont know anyone who has used the service but it sounds interesting.

      • Jorge Eslava

        Don’t join Republic wireless. You get what you pay ofr. I had them for less than a month and the service was horrible. They also won’t honor their 30 day money back guarantee.

        • Co1e

          hadnt really planned on it but thanks for the heads up!

          • Paul

            I have used Republic since the beginning of beta, by the way they are still in beta testing to get some points ironed out; and yes, you do get what you pay for.

            For $20 bucks a month +govnmt handout; I get unlimited voice (cell and wifi) on the Sprint network (good some places, bad others, but freely roams where Sprint allows), unlimited text, unlimited surfing, a decent phone at a decent price considering there is no contract to break if I want out, and 30 day free trial.

            Is it for everyone, no, but for me where I’m in wifi most of the time, and have some Sprint service some of the time, it beats the heck out of my old $60 a month to Verizon with non-breakable 2 year contract if I want the latest phone, which I didn’t because they wanted to add at least $20/month just for limited data and extra fees for texting.

            Yeah, you get what you pay for…

          • Jorge Eslava

            @Paul The problem I had with them is that I couldn’t even use the service. Calls were either bad quality or droped all the time even on WiFi. Texts were arriving late or not at all, I didn’t care about not having MMS since I never use it. And the internet may be “unlimited” but with those speeds I don’t see people using more than 2GBs even if they tried. But if you are on WiFi all the time and your service is actually working then it would be a good service. Republic didn’t fix my issues and that’s why I left them.

    • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Homncruse

      IF Google does go the route of a wireless service provider (and that’s a big IF), they’d be stupid NOT to completely integrate their existing VoIP and Google Voice infrastructure. Imagine – a cellular network with fully integrated Google Voice and working MMS!

  • jamal adam

    I like where this going.

  • Jeremy Sheehan

    And i’m sure they’ll have unlimited data plans at reasonable prices. I’d pay $60-$70 a month for that. My only problem is leaving the coverage area that big red has. I’ve been a customer for a looong time and as of late, have been fairly disenfranchised with the crap they’re pulling. I’m ready for a switch, but need a good reason for it (good coverage, quality motorola phones)

    • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Homncruse

      “My only problem is leaving the coverage area that big red has.”

      How frequently do you make cross-country road trips to remote areas where Verizon is the only provider with good coverage?

  • Alan Reboli

    God yes please. I’m here in KC and I would love to have everything I can ran by Google. They’re doing things right.

    • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Homncruse

      Stop it. You already have Google Fiber and are rumored to be the second market to receive T-Mobile LTE. Leave some fun for the rest of us.

      Or pay my moving expenses and let’s be roommates.

      • Alan Reboli

        You sir are correct. I’m not really sure why KC keeps getting lucky like this. Unfortunately I live in Liberty (North KC) and we’re not slated to even sign up for quite a while. #luckypeopleproblems :)

  • Vance

    ….and I jizzed in my pants

    • Richard Yarrell

      Can I lick your pants clean?

      • supremekizzle

        Why would you masquerade as Richard Yarrell to make stupid comments? He does a fantastic job of doing that all by himself…

        • Squiddy20

          Omg Richard there are so many things wrong with what you just said. Let me list them and see if I can make myself look like an even bigger jackass….

    • ranman

  • redraider133

    Lets hope so, and then can finally have some competition with the big two. Hopefully they bring unlimited data and people switch. I know I would.

  • NegativeOne13

    Google creates a good solid wireless network. Buys Verizon. Shows good business ethics. Profit?

    • kazahani

      Per Wikipedia:

      Google’s total assets: $93.7 billion
      Verizon’s total assets: $230.4 billion

      Doubt Google would ever be in a position to buy a company over twice their size..

      • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Homncruse

        Not only that, but you know it would have to be a hostile takeover. Verizon would fight that kicking and screaming.

        • kazahani

          And I would have to believe that the FCC, SEC and various other 3-letter government agencies would have issues with such a proposition. There is such a thing as a vertically-integrated monopoly. A company that built the phones (Moto), built the operating environment (Android), and also owned the network they operated on (Goog-rizon Wireless) could be seen as a threat to market competition.

      • June Warr

        Yeah, right now. Two or three years out? Another matter altogether.

  • Co1e

    These rumors have me really excited. Let me choose a pre-paid plain with my nexus device! Hell yeah!

  • Thomas Biard

    Nexus device on a Google network? That is so mouth-wateringly beautiful! I would venture to guess that Google wireless would be cheap comparatively speaking. Oh please work out!

  • iamXiV92a

    DO IT so I can (also convince the family to) leave AT&T!!!

  • MisterLee

    I’m down…

  • Noven

    All I can say is that I really hope they are. I’ve been wanting this for a few years now, just do it all ready!

  • LuckyHermit

    Yes yes yes! Please please please!

  • herbivore83

    For those of us in the middle of the country (West of KC and east of LV), I’m sure we will not see this for a very long time.

  • hurracayne

    I guess everyone missed the whole partner with Dish part which has been speculated on for months.

    That why At&T and Sprint being throwing a hissy fit because potential 5 major competitor.

  • txbluesman

    I have had dreams about this! Please!!!!!!

  • Alec Waddelow

    Oh sweet Jesus yes!

  • GE918


  • yankeesusa

    I wish I worked for google. That is the best company to work for.So many awesome things that they do for their employees. I hope this testing turns out to be good and they start expanding. I would jump on it in a hearbeat.

  • mikef3j

    Would definitely shake up VZW’s customer base…

  • AvatarZ

    While I agree as a consumer this feels like it’d be great … i wonder how the the FCC and FTC would feel about this … Google would basically own the whole consumer experience, from front to end, especially with its Nexus devices.

    • June Warr

      The Big Boys had their chance to claim it and failed miserably…. Capitalism at it’s finest

  • smeghead68

    Google already knows what I write on email (gmail) they might as well as listen in on every phone call as well……Apply tin foil hat now.

  • Tico4674

    Where do I sign up to be a beta tester?

  • alexanderharri3

    Google competing to provide cheap yet reliable and good cellular networks to give Verizon and ATT a reason to bring down prices to stay alive would be great! Being ad-driven…well let’s hope not.

    • redraider133

      If it offered unlimited data for a cheap price I would be fine with it being ad-driven. I am sure google would just be happy getting it’s services and products into more consumers hands that used to be in others hands( the carriers, etc)

  • BeverageNinja

    Where do I sign up? I’ve been with T-Mobile for over 12 years, but I’d bail on them in a heart beat if I could get my Google phone on a Google network.

    • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Homncruse

      You and me both.

  • Nathan D.

    I can’t wait to see what this is :-)

  • sylvan

    Well, it would certainly help with the dreaded carrier lag in updating operating systems on the phones!

  • Mix

    I would kill for change in BC.

    I want Wind mobile to grow but I am pumped at what Google might do.

    Stupid Bell, Telus and Rogers….bah

  • Shizz

    This could be excellent especially considering how awesome Google has been with their ISP offering. While limited in area and taking time, it is available in the US!

  • donger

    Can’t wait.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002275344855 luis maldonado

    I dont car if I need to pay $1,000 ETA, im leaving t-mobile and never turning back if Google does create a new wireless network! Im so excited! Please be true!

  • Yogesh

    I would like to wait

  • Marcus Vann

    Almost every comment I saw composes of words synonymous to “I will ditch my provider if Google comes to play!”.
    I thought to myself, “Yeah, I will do that too”.
    That’s gonna be big after all, competitions will be stiffer and prices will be lower or services will be much more compact.
    But one things gonna be evident, It will be a start of monopoly, Google is everywhere already, I wonder what comes next.

  • Paul

    Folks, I too would leave any current provider if Google spearheads a project like we are focused on. But I don’t see it happening any time soon, hope I’m wrong, don’t think I am.

    To have coverage like Verizon, Google would need to partner with Verizon, think Big Buck$$$ as Verizon hasn’t indicated any willingness to allow full access to their network for the low cost spread that currently use the Verizon network, so where you have excellent native Verizon signal, you may not have on their leased network.

    The Dish Satellite will work for limited high speed internet, but only if the FCC will allow high speed in both directions, Without high speed for up and download, you would have signal latency, so in a highspeed game, you would be dead before you know it and ‘game over’. Also antenna systems would need to be sophisticated to track a sat signal if you were moving from one area to another (read expen$ive).

    Look up the technology used in the current satellite phones used in remote places on the globe to get a general idea of what’s involved..

  • http://theandroidappshow.com Lane

    This is probably the “last mile” solution for Google Fiber.

    The most expensive part of fiber deployment is the last mile to a home, so why not just backhaul to custom cell sites and have lte modem/router combos in the home instead?

    Eventually they can get the band supported in a nexus device and do VoLTE.

    With lte tech now maturing, there is no better time to build a cell network from scratch that doesn’t have backwards compatibility issues.

  • Eben1277

    Ah, good old vertical integration. Carnegie would be proud.

  • BleedingEdge

    Between Android, Chrome OS, Chrome Browser, Google web services, Google’s fiber initiative, free WiFi in some areas,robot cars, indirect association with Planetary Resources plus a possible project to disrupt the current wireless carrier cartel, Google is positioning itself to be THE major tech player in this decade.

  • JB

    I said it 4 years ago. G-Mobile to replace T-Mobile.

  • Rising33

    If its from Google its got to be good . Thats all I have to say. Google fan for life. World domination lol…..

  • franrich

    Remember when Google create Android the wanted to offer data at a ridiculously low rate on Tmobile to which Tmobile politely declined. Not surprising at the direction Google is heading. Keep your eyes on the bullseye.

    • KG

      I had heard $20/month for unlimited voice/text and data and that they would be using VOIP for the talk time (Google Voice) with no data caps or tethering restrictions!
      That sounds a bit too low for me, but I would leave any carrier for this…!

  • E-man

    I would totally switch over to Google wireless. Google will take over the world.

  • Abel Wike

    great!! more tech firms should emulate google in spearheading life changing technologies!!

  • rashad360

    I’m pretty happy with my T-mo service but it would be interesting to see how a Google wireless network would turn out.

  • WatcherJohn

    I used to follow metropolitan Wi-Fi plans & installation attempts. I had hope for the electric company experiments into serving access to remote areas. Will someone help us make this dream affordable, please, Google? You got the mojo?

  • jonstle

    Interested to see where they go with this. It is always hard to say with Google. I do really love how they are not afraid to jump into new things to see what they can come up with.

  • pjamies

    Thinking that maybe they should at least wait till their Internet experiment in Kansas City, has progressed to the rest of the country before attempting to roll out another system.
    I love Google, but sometimes they just seem a little scatter brained … It’s like they want to have their hands in all facets of technology, but never give each project their full attention for too long.
    They need to focus and complete each task before moving on to their next project.
    It’s like they have ADHD … lol

  • Vitti

    I’m in. I would be all over this if it comes to fruition.

  • Diabsoud

    I hope they are… This would be something…!

  • PM

    Then what would you tell about a reputed company like Karbonn launching a unique 8-inch tablet providing every feature for as low as $120