What Google Should Offer Customers in Its Wireless Service

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-03-03
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    What Google Should Offer Customers in Its Wireless Service
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    What Google Should Offer Customers in Its Wireless Service

    By Don Reisinger
  • Previous
    More Flexibility in Plan Features, Structure
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    More Flexibility in Plan Features, Structure

    Google's wireless service could present several new opportunities to customers, including the possibility of more flexibility in the plan structure. It would be nice to see Google adopt better ways to charge customers for service, including a method based only on usage. The company might also think of a tiered service with fixed pricing on whatever the person's needs are. So, if the user wants only data for a smartphone, he or she can get it. If the user wants only voice, that's fine, too. Giving customers more choice would be great.
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    Use T-Mobile for Some Inspiration
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    Use T-Mobile for Some Inspiration

    One of the biggest changes to the carrier space has come via T-Mobile. The wireless carrier, which has dubbed itself the un-carrier, has brought about significant change, including ending the industry practice of judging people on credit scores, opening up data on more prepaid plans, and more. Google could learn a few things from T-Mobile and create new ideas that go even further.
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    Use Google Fiber as a Framework
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    Use Google Fiber as a Framework

    Google doesn't need to be everywhere to be successful. The company should follow its Google Fiber model and slowly but surely expand its service nationwide. The move will allow Google to work out the kinks before it makes the service more widely available and, at the same time, build interest in what it's doing. Google Fiber has put cable companies on notice, and it would be nice to see Google do the same to the wireless industry.
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    Pick More Than One Network
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    Pick More Than One Network

    According to reports, Google will allow its customers to access the Web and use voice and text over Sprint and T-Mobile networks. However, AT&T and Verizon have the biggest networks. It would be nice to see Google allow customers to pick the service they want from any of the big four and seamlessly switch between those networks whenever they experience problems.
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    Provide Enough Phone Options
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    Provide Enough Phone Options

    It will be critical for Google to offer enough phone options with its wireless service. Google must not offer just a handful of devices at launch. Customers like options and like knowing that they can get what they want on the network they choose. Google must remember that with its upcoming wireless service.
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    A Vision Beyond 'Innovation'
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    A Vision Beyond 'Innovation'

    Google's Pichai said that the company's service will not necessarily compete with the big four carriers, but will be a place of "innovation" for the industry. That's nice to hear, but it'd be best to see Google have a real vision beyond just being a test ground for new ideas. How can Google's service expand over time? What kind of features can be added as more customers come online? Google needs to be more than an incubator for cool ideas.
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    Bring About Change in the Wireless Business
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    Bring About Change in the Wireless Business

    Although Google says it has no interest in competing with wireless carriers, there is some hope that the interesting ideas it presents in the marketplace could work some change on the big carriers' business models. After all, if Google is doing things that have historically not been done, customers will call on their current carriers to follow suit. The singular goal Google should have is to innovate and force change in the industry by doing what's right for customers. If the company can do that, it'll be successful.
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    Google Service Should Be Mobile-Platform-Agnostic
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    Google Service Should Be Mobile-Platform-Agnostic

    There's a very real possibility that Android devices will be the only products offered through Google's wireless service. However, in order for it to be taken seriously and for the offering to have credibility, Google should welcome iPhones and Windows Phone devices, among others. True platform agnosticism is an absolute requirement if Google's wireless service is to be successful.
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    Make Everything Web-Based
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    Make Everything Web-Based

    One of the last things Google should do is build brick-and-mortar stores to drive its wireless business. Not only is the cost astronomical, but it also adds a whole new layer of customer service staff that the average consumer and enterprise customer won't want to deal with. Google should go straight to a Web-based model that allows users to sign up for everything they want online. Going to the traditional model makes no sense.
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    A WiFi-First Model
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    A WiFi-First Model

    Over the last few months, a handful of reports and rumors have surfaced, saying that Google would work on a WiFi-First cellular model. What that means is the company's service would actively seek a WiFi connection first to connect calls. If there is no suitable WiFi signal, the device would automatically turn to whichever cellular network provides the best service in that area. It's a great way to save money and something Google should definitely offer.
 

Google is planning a wireless service that could provide a framework that fundamentally changes the way the wireless business operates. Speaking on March 2 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Google Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai confirmed that the company will launch a small-scale wireless service that will showcase different technologies and ways of doing business. Pichai said that the decision is based entirely on Google's desire to "drive a set of innovations" in the marketplace as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). The speculation surrounding the possible features for this service has already reached a fever pitch. Pichai likened the wireless service to Google Fiber, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. If Google can come up with something truly groundbreaking, it could change the wireless business in important ways and have a significant, positive impact on consumers. This eWEEK slide show will provide a wish list of features we would like to see in a Google wireless service. If Google makes good on its plans, users could get access to a useful alternative wireless service.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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