December 18, 2014

ZDNet Thinks it's Time for "Google Clearwire" as Service Provider

The concept sounds simple enough – Google buys out the majority of Sprint and rebrands as a new wireless carrier. Dana Blankenhorn of ZDNet.com thinks that the time is now for Google to act on a purchase of Sprint Nextel. In case you spend a majority of your time living under rocks, Sprint has been hemoragging customers to the tune of nearly 1 million per quarter.

While tests and deployment of WiMax are moving ahead, no one trusts the Sprint brand (and with good reason — I’m a dissatisfied customer). It actually lost 901,000 customers last quarter.

The answer is simple. Buy the preferred, becoming Sprint’s largest shareholder. Then, with institutional support, change the brand name to Google Wireless. Or Google Clearwire.

Customers will immediately give the company a second chance. Google gets a large retail network for pushing Android phones and WiMax cards, as well as Google swag and the Google brand.

I could see a lot of people taking a second look if Google’s name was at the top. By and large, the public has soured on the name Sprint. I work with T-Mobile and I hear horror stories on a regular basis when customers tell me what it is that they don’t like about their current carriers. It’s not a myth that Sprint’s is among the worst.

I’ll start the ball rolling here for discussion. First and foremost, slapping a new name on the same old company would not be enough. It starts with bringing in sales reps and customer service agents who at least appear to care. It would be a bonus if they really did. I’m reminded of the lipstick on a pig analogy. The sad truth is that they should be doing this already, regardless of the name above the door.

In regards to the timing, I would agree with Dana. We’re going to get away from the “minutes” discussion and more into the data realm. What speeds you get and what you can do with the devices will be the focal points. It would be very easy to sell the new order of the day if it had the Google logo on it.

You Tell Us

What do you think of Blankenhorn’s theory? Does it make sense? What else needs addressed?



  • dplante

    im a sprint customer, and i have no prob. with them, but i know if google bought them, it would be 3x’s better

  • gerrrg

    Bad idea.

    Google has greater revenue opportunity by allowing itself to be included in as many handsets and on as many networks as possible. Tying itself up to a specific service provider would certainly stall that growth and they would likely face enormous antitrust scrutiny.

    Think about it: Why should AT&T allow Google onto their handsets, if Google owns a rival network?

    Far better to argue Cricket / Leap Wireless, than Google. They both use CDMA, and it allows Leap to have instant expansion as well as a foot into the future WiMax.

  • TareX

    I second gerrrg’s post.

    It sounds like a good idea, but will ruin everything. Forget about Android spreading adequately if that happened.

  • Jeffrey S

    Exactly, it would create a conflict of interest with the OHA that they’ve put together. “Come out and play ball, but oh yea, I’m just going to play by myself.”

    Now, if they somehow can’t get Android to take hold with any other carriers, I can see this as one last ditch effort to get it out there, but even then it would be pretty desperate.

  • JerryA

    It will never happen for the reasons Jeff and TareX mentioned.

    Still, I second Sprint being no suckier than any of the other major providers. In the DC/Baltimore area where I live I get full signal everywhere and I have faster 3G than VZW, ATT, or T-Mo. Even without the funky SERO plans I only pay $15/mo. for unlimited data which is about 1/3 to 1/2 of what other carriers charge for a smartphone data pack. I hear rumors of upcoming caps and that pretty much stinks but for the time being I’m relatively satisfied. I’ve had to deal with customer service maybe 3 times since I signed on in 2003 and out of those times 1 was neutral, one was awesome, and one pretty much sucked but had an OK resolution in the end. Compared to dealing with Comcast, Sprint is like calling your grandma.

  • Filby

    Sprint is under new management, and it shows. Churn has fallen significantly, due partly to unrelenting focus and investments on customer service – one-stop problem resolution, integrated systems, retention of best care talent. The unlimited voice and data plan and the new Instinct by Samsung also played their part. Full disclosure: I’m an employee, formerly of Nextel. Its been dismal here for a long time, but a different world is emerging. Results generally lag improvements, so I think future surveys will bear out the improvement in customer service, but the significantly lower churn is a leading indicator.

  • http://techvideoblog.com Charbax

    The network needs to be about data. Anything else does not make any sense.

    If Google cannot force the carriers to become dumb wireless data providers at reasonable data prices, then Google has to destroy those old carriers by making the worldwide wireless broadband network that is data-centric.

    A worldwide data-centric network can be made for cheap using clever hardware, clever software and the FON deployment model where customers install base stations relying on net neutrality to forward the Internet signal wirelessly into the streets from people’s homes.

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