Google’s Project Fi Could Pave Way For Cable Companies To Realize Their Wireless Ambitions
Project Fi, Google's wireless service, could potentially change the mobile industry. But perhaps in a totally unexpected way.
Just a week ago, the search giant announced that it was collaborating with major wireless carriers T-Mobile and Sprint in introducing Project Fi, a new wireless service that easily switches between 4G LTE cellular networks and Wi-Fi connections.
Realistically speaking, Project Fi still has a very long way to go before it can compete with the likes of AT&T and Verizon Wireless, considered two of the leading carriers in the industry. But Google's wireless service could be a really big deal to the cable service providers. By offering a new service that seamlessly switches between cellular and Wi-Fi networks, the search giant could pave a way for cable companies to give the world of wireless services another try, specifically by marrying cellular service with their own network of Wi-Fi hotspots.
The idea of a convergence of a wireless company and a cable company may sound far fetched to some, but for a few open-minded minds, it is not entirely out of the question. One of those who see a potential wireless-cable combo is John Legere, the chief executive officer of T-Mobile, who talked about it just a few days ago.
What does this mean for consumers? Obviously, it would mean more options for them when it comes to choosing wireless services. Wireless companies and cable companies already compete for landline, broadband, and pay TV services -- why not wireless services, too?
For cable companies, it is easier said than done, of course. Wi-Fi only covers a part of the entire network, which means that new entrants to the wireless industry will probably have to lease network capacity from the more established wireless companies.
But if it means that their customers still get to experience fast and reliable connections even when in locations that Wi-Fi networks can not reach, then it should be a good package for consumers, especially those who want the best of both worlds (Wi-Fi and cellular networks).
Cable companies have always been interested in the wireless market. Back in 2005, cable companies grouped together and partnered with wireless carrier Sprint on a joint venture called Pivot. The idea was that every cable company would sell its own branded wireless service via Sprint's network. Some of these cable companies purchased their own spectrum in 2006 and 2008, but ended up selling it to Verizon in 2011.
Then there is the issue of tech compatibility. There is no guarantee that the service will work really well when switching between cellular and Wi-Fi, and vice versa. But now that Google is onboard, everybody seems to be optimistic that the kinks will eventually be ironed out. And of course, Google's influence can not be discounted. The company after all holds Android, which is considered the most popular mobile operating system in the world. If Google can succeed with Android for the mobile industry, then it has a solid chance of doing the same with Project Fi for the wireless industry. As for cable companies, they would would be more than willing to follow Google's lead.