September 1, 2014

Balloons Full of Hydrogen and Possibility

When I first read the article on the Wall Street Journal yesterday afternoon I immediately thought to myself “Wow, this would totally make sense.” It’s a logical move that couldn’t come at a better time for the cellular industry. Google is on the verge of revolutionizing the cellular industry twice in the same year. First with Android and now with a potential contract with Space Data Corp.

This is one of those cases where it should have been thought of a long time ago. By putting up roughly 330 balloons a day, they could blanket the country with radio signal and provide users with coast to coast coverage. By beaming down from 20 miles up, the signal would be free from interruptions typically caused by mountains, trees, water, etc. Imagine being able to use a cell phone out on the ocean! If this deal goes through, you’ll not have to worry about the limitations caused by zoning restrictions.

Depending on how the 700MHz auction falls out, there could be even more potential. Think along the lines of mobile television, gaming, Wi-Fi, and plenty of other cool scenarios. Google could find themselves partnering up with an actual carrier like Verizon to offer floating virtual cell towers. It could even end up being an Open Handset Alliance deal with Google sharing their radios with T-Mobile and Sprint users only.

Regardless of who wins the auction, nearly $5 billion is needed to come out of pocket before building tower number one. This is where Space Data Corp. is hoping to be called on. Whether the spectrum gets used to provide cellular network, television, or internet services, this is by far a much cheaper alternative to building up a traditional network. How much money and time do you think would be involved in erecting 22,000 towers? An average of 6 balloons per state seems much practical. Google could have these balloons in the air by the time the ink finishes drying on the contract. It should be fairly obvious by now, but I’m a big fan of this one.