Many have postulated if and how Google could become a carrier.
Should they become an MVNO?
Should they become a de-facto VNO by virtue of Google Voice?
The issue may be mute as Google becomes pervasive from an application, commerce, content, and advertising perspective.
Customer control is the key emerging battle, fought on many fronts, which will engage wireless and wireline carriers against new VNO entrants who stand to win much new ground.
Wireless carriers have had relatively tight control of their customer base through a variety of means that have reduced the customer’s control over their service choices:
- Early termination fees to lock in the revenue stream for the service term
- Restricted access to specific Web sites and content (walled garden)
- Ownership of the customer’s wireless phone number
- Handsets with “locked” network provider settings
Each of these controls erodes in today’s markets as new regulatory decisions and technology choices drive greater control back to the users of wireless services.
It does not matter so much if Google is a “carrier” in the sense that they are responsible for voice and data bearer communications.
We believe that the margins for all bearer, voice and data, will continue to decrease to the point that flat-rate, all you can eat bearer services will become the norm. We believe that Google and certain other companies realize this and are therefore positioning themselves with offerings in higher profit areas.
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