Friday, February 5, 2010

T-Mobile For Sale - One Way Or Another

T-Mobile USA is becoming like the guest who was invited to a party out of courtesy by the host who didn't think he would really show but did nonetheless. The alpha carriers are there. AT&T and Verizon are just dominating the party. Sprint is there too but it's more of a sidekick. T-Mobile is vying for attention but gets polite nods and uneasy smiles.

Well, not that I'm speaking from experience or anything like that but T-Mobile USA, besides being my favorite wireless provider and the first to partner with Google to come out with the first Android device, is quickly being shunned, even by its German parent company. So much so that it may be forced to go independent in an IPO or something worse. Worse isn't the right word here.

Noq, I've got an interesting proposition. What if one of the cash rich giants buy it out? It's the weekend so let's have some fun with this unlikely scenario, shall we?

Okay, Google. It clearly needs to be a two-trick horse. It's trying to make money from something else other than search and going into this wireless providing business makes sense. And it can attract a lot of loyal customers from other carriers in the process. I think it'll gain more than it'll shed.

Microsoft. Doesn't have the close relationship it once did with T-Mobile. Still, it has a lot to offer. The only bad thing is that its house is in disorder despite making $6.7 billion in profits last year. But imagine if Redmond finds itself a coherent mobile strategy, it can do something no one else has done. More likely, Steve Balmer will drive customers away instead. Less likely to buy T-Mobile than Google.

Now, Apple. You can forget about it. But it is a good scenario to consider. Okay, not. Imagine just selling one phone and one pad, maybe a few 3G-enabled laptops and that's all you can choose from.

So, it'll be back to Google. Google buying up T-Mobile makes more sense than either Apple or Microsoft pulling the trigger. The main thing is that Google wants to dominate search, specifically mobile search so it can sell ads. It won't mind other mobile platforms running on it's own network so long as it can earn a piece of the action by being the default search engine on the phones that it'll sell.

Plus, owning its own network can insure Android and Chrome OS's future in the mobile market. No one else can do this. Furthermore, such a buy could force others like Microsoft to emulate this maneuver by buying a more expensive network like Sprint or something. Make your enemy waste resources, right?

Plus, there's something that Google has been pushing hard on. White spaces. Look for a national wide white spaces network along with 3G and LTE networks that it'll own. It can essentially provide services to hundreds of millions of people with cheap Internet access. And as some had hope in the past, Internet access subsidized by ads.

So, what to you think? I think it can work.

Note: I'm picking up on this because of T-Mobile being the first network to offer the G1. Up until Android devices started showing up at Sprint and Verizon, T-Mobile was synonymous with Android and Google.

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