Google talking with Dish about becoming a wireless carrier


My heart skipped a beat after reading the headline from today’s Wall Street Journal post. Apparently, Dish and Google were having a friendly chat over tea earlier this week, bouncing ideas back and forth on what a world would be like if Google entered into the wireless market. An Android fanboy’s dream come true, a deal between the two companies is nowhere near set in stone (virtually non-existent even). As it turns out, Google is just one of many companies Dish has been chatting with, with AT&T as another likely candidate as partner.

While Dish’s Chairman Charlie Ergen did go on the record confirming the company’s talks with other companies “who would like to be in the industry,” he also mentioned it would be easier to work with a company who already has a wireless presence, where T-Mobile and Sprint were once possible partners. Still, with Google’s $45 billion cash pile, that could could be more than enough to convince Dish. That is, if Google wants it bad enough.

With Google making the move into the home internet business, a wireless offering doesn’t sound too far fetched, just a bit premature. Discussion time. Do you guys think consumers could benefit from a possible “Google Wireless?”

[via WSJ]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. I could only imagine what google would do as a wireless carrier…but it’s pretty safe to say they would be changing the game.

    1. I would imagine it would run more like European wireless carriers. But who knows, its Google. Whatever the case, if it does happen it will be in Beta for 8 years.

  2. Oh man, make it LTE and Im in for sure

  3. Unlimited Data and 4G LTE and I’m in.

    1. I don’t even want unlimited data. Just a good amount (5GB’s) to keep the kids from using it for Black Ops 2. O_o

      1. Google wants unlimited data. Priority #1 is getting people to use more internet.

      2. I ran several hours of MW2 a year ago off of a Samsung Intercept. It didn’t even use 10MB in two hours and the latency was around 300-500. Pretty good if you ask me.

  4. okay are we talking CELL PHONE wireless carrier or like TV like what dish does…

    this article needs more clarification chris!

    1. Yeah cell phones. I think its because dish owns spectrum, right? Or am I way off?

      1. Yeah, Dish has gots some spectrum.

        1. Always complete from A to Zinc.

        2. ok so if Dish has some spectrum, is it safe to assume that it is NOT the same wireless bands as tmobile, and NOT the same as AT&T, meaning its some other weird mHz frequency never been used before, meaning Google would have to stick a new radio in any phones created for this new network?

      2. it all makes sense now then! if they can do to wireless carrier service what they are doing to home internet im all game! great performance at a realistic price!!!

    2. Wireless cellphone service. I’ll clarify some more.

      1. google TV also needs some love…

        1. Google TV needs a LOT of love.

  5. What a great world this would be. Google could only help, I would like nothing more than to pay Google than my other provider for my internet connection. Make it happen Google, the internet is calling your name.

  6. Depends if come launch day they sell 500,000 SIMs but only have the capacity for 100,000 with emails going out to say they’ll be able to use their phones in 3 weeks and thanks for your patience!

    Yes, I went there cos they damn well deserve some **** at the moment!

    1. I smell Nexus 7 launch duplicate x 10 times worse. 3 weeks is horse ….

    2. Considering they don’t want to completely alienate their partners, and that their products are niche until proven otherwise, I don’t have a huge problem with it. It’s not like if they opened it up for preordering they would’ve gotten a million paid orders. Without knowing what actual demand would be (not internet buzz) it would be hard for them to commit to manufacturing a large number of devices….especially when they are ALREADY subsidizing their cost.

      Look at it from this perspective too: selling out so soon generates buzz. While WE think of this as negative publicity, from a marketing perspective it’s a huge positive. It has already put the Nexus line on the map for regular consumers, who then started to wonder “wow, that Google phone must be the sh*t if it sold out in one day!” I’ll bet there are folks walking into T-Mobile stores right now trying out the Nexus 4 because of that, and $199 is actually still a very good deal for them compared to $200-$279 for a GS3.

      1. Or, they could use this brand new technology called stock tracking.
        They know how many they had in stock and every time someone places an order, one item is removed from available stock.

        Once all stock is allocated, they stop taking orders and put people back to pre-order.

        That way, they sell out, generating buzz, people are aware that their order will take a while to come through as current stock has run out BEFORE they hand over their money and people aren’t left fuming that an order they expected to receive in a short period of time has turned into a far longer period of time.

        Now get off your high horse and stop defending them for the sake of it!

        1. No offense, but show me a large business in the mobile sector that does anything different. I work in this industry, and I can tell you for a fact that EVERY carrier AND Apple did the exact same thing when the last several iPhone & iPad models launched. Sales were made, and shipping projections revised afterwards (currently 14-21 days for the iPhone 5). Having that money cash in hand makes a difference when placing an order for more stock for any company, especially considering that most folks will wait instead of cancelling their order. If they immediately went to preorder status many people would then decide to buy something else instead of waiting. You may not like it, but it’s a smart business decision. The only thing that will change it is if more folks start cancelling their orders when advised of backorder status.

          1. Ah, capitalism at it’s finest you mean. F*** whoever it takes to increase profits.
            Yep, I’ll concede the point that’s how it works, sure as hell it’s still totally wrong!

  7. I hope so! ;)

  8. If it’s as competitive as their internet service, yes. In a heart beat.

  9. I would leave Verizon the first day without any doubt

    1. Ditto. I love my Big Red service, but Google has the ability to make things better. Look at Google Fiber! I would LOVE for Google to sell me wireless and fiber!

    2. And I’d be right there with you. I’m ready to dump big red the minute something better comes along, which in my area isn’t any of the other three carriers. I’m not complaining about VZW’s coverage, but rather their attitude towards pure Android handsets. They’ve shown me that they just don’t care and with that, I no longer have any emotional attachments to VZW either. Well, the minute Google opens their doors for wireless service, I’ll be there waiting and goodbye big red.

      1. Can’t blame them for the recent Nexus, Google didn’t even give the phone a chance to have LTE.

        As for the Gnex… They actually bought exclusivity for the first few months and while the updates took 2 months longer then GSM it only took 2 months.

        I have no complaints about Verizon and them pure Nexus devices. I do have problems with the way they conduct some of their business and their pricing. But the coverage and speed is unmatched.

        1. Verizon is horrible with OPEN devices. Firstly, CDMA is their little baby and they will never, EVER open up the radios for it so that right there already makes every single phone on Verizon not “open”. Secondly, their LTE network is nice but LTE does nothing but drain your battery at about 3x the rate of 3G/HSPDA+ and I’ve about had it. I’ve had the GNex since launch and the phone is ‘ok’ at best when it comes to longevity and its battery. I have an extended battery and a spare with a cradle at home that charges the spare for when I go out immediately after work.

          How about their deals with Samsung, Moto, HTC etc to where all phones on their network must have locked bootloaders?

          I’ve been on Verizon since 2009 and I’m about to jump ship to T-Mobile’s 30/month Unlimited Text/Data [throttled at 5gigs] and 100 minutes plan. T-Mobile has been very accepting to all Open phones on their network and they don’t try to limit you with any manufacturer locking and their not CDMA so their phones get true on-time updates (pending manufacturer) so you don’t have to wait the EXTRA 2 months that it takes Verizon’s call centers to “test” the phones.

          Galaxy Note II + T-Mobile here I come pretty soon!

          1. I have the GN II on T-Mobile and all I got to say is AWESOME!!!!!

        2. “Can’t blame them for the recent Nexus, Google didn’t even give the phone a chance to have LTE.

          As for the Gnex… They actually bought exclusivity for the first few months and while the updates took 2 months longer then GSM it only took 2 months.”

          Ummm, I hate to break it to you, but the GSM GN already has official 4.2 Jelly Bean. Verizon just released 4.1.1 last month and still hasn’t released 4.1.2 yet. This defeats Google’s entire purpose behind the Nexus line: a phone that always provides the latest and greatest example of the intended Android experience. Verizon has reduced the update cycle speed of that network’s GN to that of the GS3, which is not acceptable.

          Simply put, Verizon is exercising their control of CDMA to control the updates and the UIs of phones on their network. As those are the two things that make a Nexus a Nexus their is no way at the present time that Google can or will support them. That, AFAIC, was a very smart decision.

      2. seconded!!

    3. As much as I love and have been loyal to TMO (for over 6 years) I would dump them in a heartbeat to support Google, if not for any other reason than Big G doesn’t ever seem to be trying to “screw” their customers. Ever.

  10. I would even go back to 3g to go with the company with a slogan of “don’t be evil”. Would definitely be a game changer in the wireless world.

    1. Yeah, a refreshing change the wireless industry desperately needs. I feel like we’re all shackled =/

      1. Shake things up at least like they did in Kansas City with their services. My buddy lives in a neighborhood getting it and I’m a pretty envious of him.

        1. Same. I’m just a few miles from where G. Fiber is laying lines and I keep considering moving -_-

      2. i feel the same, kinda sold my soul to Verizon

      3. USA Wireless industry is a joke. We need Europes models! No more carriers controlling phones!

        1. Absolutely and T-Mobile isn’t quite big enough or doing enough on their own to push things that way. Maybe after they support the iPhone on hspa+. Google should seriously buy T-Mobile and up the anty in this game. Turn the industry on it’s head and change the game.

      4. Shackled Chris??!! Hell we are all FUCKED here in the US with our wireless providers as compared to the rest of the world…LAWD!!!!

    2. Especially after how Verizon treated the Nexus and the whole Google Wallet debacle. GWallet can’t go anywhere without the carriers.

      1. I couldnt agree more. I’m so pissed about that – the Nexus was the last contract I’ll sign with verizon – what a horrible way to handle a Nexus phone, especially when verizon got first dibs. Guess they want to stick with their ‘Droid’ brand (crap IMO)

  11. “G-mobile”…dreams are made of these…grow, grow, and grow. become the largest service provider….and never, ever, sell iphones. B-)

    1. No, sell iPhones, just sell them at $5,000 a piece and watch Google get back whatever investment they made at the end of the week. Starting to think people think of Apple as a religion and Siri is a God(ess).

      1. and the apple religious will follow indeed. lines still forming at the $5,000 price…why wont they just drink the ceremonial kool-aid and be done with it o_O

        1. They are Apple fans because these trust fund kiddies get to borrow daddy’s credit card. $5,000 is probably a bit too much for them to ask for.

        2. I’ll be the one in the funny tall hat walking around with the collection plate going up and down the long ass line, every $500 collected I hand out temporary Apple tattoos

      2. arent those days coming to an end? Anecdotal at the margin, friends and family are showing more than an eager eye at my android wares lately.

        1. Same thoughts here. Everytime I show my G Nexus to a iPhone user they are pretty damn impressed. Especially when I show them NFC and Google Wallet

    2. T-mobile is the only national carrier that doesn’t sell the iPhone now so there would be no contact for them to abide to. The only thing that worries me is if Google started their own service would other providers drop Android as a whole? That would suck. (Though I would drop Verizon in a nanosecond)

      1. Other carriers wouldn’t drop Android. That is a huge profit margin for them. Basically the majority who get smartphones get Apple or Android.

    3. Google has to play with iPhone and that is the only thing that could make this deal fail. At some point they have to sell services on an iphone/ipad to be successful. It’s about appealing to the masses using their search tools. It’s all fun and games as long as googles core keeps up with things.

  12. buy T-Mobile USA yes?

    1. i like that idea

    2. Considering that Google is trying to become one, I really do not see why this hasn’t already happened. I think that deal would have made the most sense, especially since Google is pushing unlocked GSM phones.

      1. Considering that once the T-Mobile/MetroPCS deal closes they will be a publicly-owned company I can easily see Google jumping on it then. All they would need is 51% of the company to gain operating control…they wouldn’t even have to buy Deutche Telekom out completely to attain that. That combined with Dish network’s spectrum (which is AWS-4…fits right in with T-Mobile’s existing spectrum and plans to convert their AWS spectrum to LTE) would allow them to then offer nationwide LTE coverage with very few holes. Maybe then Google could offer that $9.99 unlimited wireless data they’ve been wanting to sell for so long.

    3. This.

      Infrastructure exists, already 100% Nexus compatible. Already looking to merge/sell/something.

      It seems like a no-brainer, which is why I am thinking Google is *not* intending to go this direction. If they wantetd to, they have had ample opportunity to turn the cell-phone/wireless market on it’s head.

      Aside: Anything ever come of the rumor of their unlit internet backbone? There were rumors floating around almost 5 years ago now that the Goog had a ton of dark (unlit) fiber laying in the ground that they had bought up from others and was lots of speculation on their intended use of it all…

    4. Yes, the combination of T-Mobile, Dish and Google would be amazing. All 3 of my favorite companies.

  13. I just mailed a check to Google. I put “dibs on wireless service” in the memo line.

    I would use google wallet, but I’m on verizon :priceisrightsound

    1. Root your phone – screw Verizon. I’m surprised there isnt a lawsuit about this. A google phone (that i purchased), a free app, and verizon tells me I can’t have it??? wtf is wrong here?

      1. Exactly why google needs to turn this upside down. So much room for beating verizon at their stupid games they’ve been playing for years.

  14. hopefully they give you an option for some ad supported plan or whatever. I just hope google would skip 3g and just dive straight into LTE.

  15. A LTE only network should be the next step…
    Google and Samsung should work together on it.

    1. They own Motorola Mobility, so they already have a company that can build the equipment. The current LTE providers still aren’t using it to it’s fullest potential… Google could nearly reach the theoretical maximum of 326mbps, or at least 100mbps, as well by using their fiber network as a backend… now combine that with unlimited LTE. It would not only change the game in the wireless industry but it would also change the game for ISPs. It could also be rolled out with slower speeds until the fiber network could be rolled out, since I’m sure laying fiber will be a much slower process.

  16. yes yes yes. I would ETF my current carrier immediately as long as it is competitive….or you know game changing

    1. I can see big red changing their fees as soon as Google gets a hold on cell service. “We never stop working you over…”

      1. VZW motto: “We’re not happy until you’re happy.”

  17. Dang, Google’s gonna be everywhere .. I won’t be surprised if the US government will get some antitrust lawsuits all up in Google’s grill

    1. Google should just buy America as a whole.

  18. I’m enjoying my “slow” hspa+ using Straight Talk. Since I’ve already left the grip of contract plans, I would jump on this in a heartbeat.

  19. My money is on Google buying T-Mobile and/or sprint once its out of that awful iPhone contract

    1. Sadly, both companies are already spoken for. So your wet dream will never come true.

      1. DT still owns the majority of tmo, so yeah, Google could definitely buy them if they wanted to.

  20. I’d buy. I think it’d be great to give the whole wireless industry a full 360, if anything more competition is better for the consumer.

    I think a better method for a small footprint would be borrowing signal off another network’s towers, in order to be introduced into the market faster, and then build out their own towers

  21. excuse me, I need to leave the room to clean up…

  22. Who would we get mad at for slow OS updates if that happens? haha

    1. The OEMs………lol…..

  23. Green or Earl gray?!

  24. Google Wireless: Open Source LTE!

  25. Give us ALL Google Fiber first.

    1. Shoot, 700Mbps! WTF!!!! Imagine that much PWNage…..

      1. I’d be sporting a mean ol’ PWNer!

        1. 200-1 KDR

          1. 1? what, did you blink? slacker!

  26. This would be a dream come true!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. Eh hopefully this would play out more like partnership as opposed to Google owning it. Its not that I don’t trust Google, I just think they’d start getting into trouble. Between their market-share in search, their fledgling internet business, their market-share on mobile OS, and new ownership of a manufacturing company, a venture into owning a wireless company might be the final straw for regulators.

  28. Google!!! Make this deal happen please!!! Give us all unlimited 4G LTE and I’m in.

  29. Ooo!! Free Nexus devices for a 2 year contract!! =.D

    1. Contracts are one of the reasons why carriers suck in my opinion.
      Do people really believe that they don’t pay the phone when it’s subsidized?

      1. I agree… It’s usually early termination fees that are sent to collections. Buy a phone outright and there’s less overhead to worry about and the bill keeps getting paid. Skip a month? no problem! and no collections company threatening you.

      2. Um… Even if you’re off contract you’re still paying for the service. Let’s say you were on boost for 6 months, Cricket for the next 6, Simple Mobile for 6 months then Virgin Mobile for 6 months. Although off contract you still just paid for 2 years of service. So…?

        The only thing a contract does is make all your 2 years go to one carrier instead of different carriers.

        1. The only thing? Really? :)
          You’re forgetting your previous comment… what about that “free” phone?

          1. Bwahahahahahahaaa!! And yes!! Free Nexus 5 with 64 onboard memory and full qwerty keyboard and yes I said full qwerty keyboard. LoL!!

  30. the days of being stuck on one os would be gone.

  31. Would love to see Google have a GSM wireless service. I would love to cancel my CDMA phone service for one that has better coverage and service. As long as they have unlimited data and at a reasonable prices. I’m carrying 4 lines plus a mini tower line so I’m pretty well invested with my current company. Maybe once my contract expires I can move over to a Google GSM world……..

  32. Having their own carrier would fit Google like a glove. IT would be the next logical move I think.

  33. take my money google

    1. I don’t think I could give my money to them fast enough…

  34. Google’s a massive data mine and they become better by knowing gathering data on their consumers. I could easily see Google setting up a network, offering affordable yet high quality smartphones a la Nexus, and even offering unlimited data. Of course I also see the potential trade-off for that would be a lot more access to your information through your phone’s functions. Possible FCC regulations that I am personally ignorant to aside, it’s really a no brainer…. Make a network that everyone can afford, and put a little data gathering tool in each person’s hand that’s constantly beaming back to the Google mothership for better or worse.

  35. Google to my mind has not done initial launches very well. They have no grasp of logistics. While this is my ultimate tech wet dream. Google will eF this launch in a colossal way. Or launch with three years of beta. Imagine a two year contract and Google experimenting on you while you pay for it.

    1. I’ve been more than happy with their experimentation so far.

      1. I’m game for all sorts of “experiments” so long as we all benefit as a whole.

    2. I enjoyed Gmail in beta, Chrome, and I certainly can’t wait for Summer 2013 when I get my beta Fiber connection! Don’t be a beta blocker. (Do you see what I did there?)

      1. A little late but yeah, I see what you did there. Classic. Excellent point too

  36. They can’t even get phones out on time…Hell no! I have lost faith in them when it comes to delivery of services and lack of transparency with their customers.

  37. If this becomes true, this will indeed change the whole mobile game. And thinking further, what will happen if Google can bring this outside the USA, to Asia, Europe, Oceania, … Than it would change the the whole mobile world…

  38. A phone carrier using Dish satellites? Wouldnt that be incredible slow?

    1. Apparently they have some spectrum to use for wireless services. I don’t think they’re planning on using satellites.

  39. I’m pretty confident that a google wireless is part of google’s future strategy. I’m guessing google may already be under way with their own plans. This partnership/buyout might speed it up. But I was thinking google fiber would be the first part of google’s wireless plans. Either way, suck it verizon, at&t and anybody else blocking google wallet and slow as all heck with updates.

  40. It’s been rumored Google has placed bids on T-Mobile USA before.

    Contrary to what everyone and their mother believes, I think for the time being DT is not outright interested in leaving the US market. Their acquisition of MetroPCS confirms that.

  41. all depends on their plans, rates and coverage in my area and frequented areas.

    I don’t care whose name is on my wireless bill solong as its gsm, decently priced, unlimited data and coverage where i need it. I couldn’t care less about coverage outside of the areas I frequent. lol

  42. Am I the only one who doesn’t support monopolizing companies… its bad enough that google runs most on most of the hardware today… 74% of all smartphones sold were android… then we have android tv (chrome), computer (chrome), and tablets… NO, I don’tr support this kind of move at all…. sorry to say but for now. GOOGLE… STAHP!!! What’s next? Google microchips being placed under the skin… NO!!!

    1. Name one hardware device Google has made… besides Google Goggles. =.]

    2. The difference between Google and, say, the old at&t (that got broke up) is Google isn’t just growing in one specific field…they are definitely doing things with an eye on diversification. But, there is always a threat of government stepping in ifthat growth pisses off the wrong people.

  43. Google Wireless would mean on time updates, cheap data plans, and timely updates! I would definitely switch.

  44. I sure hope I get to see this in my lifetime

  45. Come on Google! You can’t trust a company that doesn’t have AMC! Ya that means no Walking Dead for no ones! I needs haz AMC on my Google wireless plan!

    1. That was worked out the week after the Walking Dead premier, AMC is back on Dish.

  46. That would be nice. At a good price point even better. Start with LTE Advance even way better…They should just buy T-Mobile and their launch would be faster. But seriously if they do buy T-Mobile they should not adopt their billing practices.

  47. They would have so many new users on day #1 the entire industry (in the US, at least) would be shaken. Day One.

    Man, it would be a fun show to watch…

  48. This is the holy grail of wireless service.

    Just don’t mind the 30 second ad you have to listen to before your call goes through. ; )

  49. I really would like Google to enter the Wireless market and drive down all those monthly cost down from at&t and Verizon. These greedy bastards charge everything overpriced and should learn a lesson, lol~

  50. Hell yes !!! If the pricing were in the model of their internet service, the other carriers could be in for a Big Hurt. I hope this happens. I will be first in line

  51. I have dreams of sleeping in my car on the commute to work in my Google car, Fiber and cell service. when can I direct deposit my paycheck to Wallet? mmmm

  52. This would be perfect.

  53. a pure lte advanced network their would be no reason to build anything else

  54. it would be absolutely great for competition in the wireless sector.

  55. My dream tonight will consist of:

    -Google Fiber
    -Google/Dish Wireless (Cellular) Network
    -Google/Dish in-home-tainment (TV On Demand, Satellite)
    -Googles answer to Nest for an all inclusive in home connetivity
    -A way it is all connected seamlessly

    Afterwards I will go wash my sheets and cry as it was a dream and Im sad that I have these dreams at 29 years old!

  56. I wouldnt get too excited, my guess is at best google would do a small regional service like google fiber. They want to pressure the big companies to do more of what they want, but google really doesnt want the liability of being a large telecom. Could probably be enough to get us all back to unlimited data, then again once LTE is fully implemented, its really just a matter of some backhaul investment

    1. That sounds a little more likely. Keep in mind how terrible Google was when they started selling the original Nexus themselves. Like any company, there are growing pains when getting into a new market. Don’t expect great service at the beginning.

      Reading these posts makes me think there’s some hypocrisy when people accuse Apple customers of being sheep. You just assume Google will be great from the get go in a business they have no experience in.

  57. I’m pretty sure Dish will just sell their spectrum to Google once everything is approved by the government.

  58. bring it on

  59. I’m not here to tell you ANY of the wireless carriers are here to help you but if you think Google will jump into the wireless market without expecting to make BILLIONS off of you crazy ‘Droid fanboy’s you’re living in a fantasy world.

  60. Think about a T-Mobile/Dish/Google merger. I would be all over that as long as Google does the driving. They could turn the wireless business upside down not to mention the tv world. Remember Dish owns blockbuster also which is a direct netflix competitor.

  61. I said this over year ago, and everyone said I was crazy. Google should have purchased T-Mobile awhile ago and killed the big 3 or at least made them think about how they do business.

  62. I would go to them the minute I heard they were taking orders ,I am tired of paying high bills and getting bad to no service !

  63. I wouldn’t mind having an 8gb phone then!

  64. If the coverage was as good as VZW, I’d leave in NY minute. No more locked down phones and CDMA holding them hostage, and almost certainly fair data rates by comparison. VZW has gotten so greedy the last couple of years you’d have to be blind not to see it.

  65. I would cancel my contract and hop on board without hesitation.

  66. I would switch to Google wireless even if I had to pay a hefty early termination fee.

  67. I’m confused, why is Google talking with a TV company over whether or not to enter the wireless industry?

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