Idea: Google and Apple create their own US Carrier
Listening to the latest Vergecast (sorry Paul!) via the bootleg, with Verizon removing essential apps (Google Wallet) from *the* current Google device, the Galaxy Nexus, I had an idea : why *shouldnt* Google and Apple work together to form their own American carrier?
Either company would probably like to own and control such a network, Apple for profit, end-to-end reasons, Google for the sheer flood of information being sent back and forth, from a Google OS phone over Google LTE to Google servers running Google services, it makes sense.
But with both companies working together, to create an open, cheap, reliable, fair data network, everyone would benefit. Both companies are HUGE, colossal titans of industry. When Google moves, the world shakes, and Apple? Why, they are the second largest company in the world by stock price, sometimes they are *the* most valuable company in the world.
With something like the atrocious American carrier system though, surely its not just a matter of money and marketing, they need another 'm' : momentum. What would it cost to build out a 4G network in the largest American cities, eventually nationwide? Tens of billions of dollars? A hundred billion dollars? Apple nearly has that cash on hand right now, but it would be silly to blow it all on one terribly risky idea in the space of a year or two! :-)
Working together to provide LTE data, prepaid options (in New Zealand I run my iPhone 4 on prepaid, I load twenty dollars credit on it when needed from the phone itself, I have a balance etc, and just buy data packs. I own my phone) as well as formal plans, contracts.
"Voice" would be handled as data.
The US carriers seem to be the worst in the world, they are like Sony, RIM, Motorola and HP - these huge slobs, festering away in a pool of their own urine, in the words of the Verge crew on WebOS "...and it aint getting any better with time".
They are kept afloat by mindless customers, people who dont give a shit, *but*, who typically could not switch carriers in heartbeat even if they wanted to.
With my iPhone 4, bought from Apple.co.nz, I can put any Micro SIM in, and boom, the thing works, like petrol in a car, localized terms like "gas" aside :-) I'm on the 2 Degrees network, I want to support the scrappy underdog, but if I wanted the absolute fastest speeds, I would go to our evil Telecom NZ (sort of like AT&T), or else Vodafone NZ, I could change my network in the time it takes to walk/drive up the couple blocks into town, to buy a Micro SIM for ~15 USD or so.
We have "number portability", so I actually have my old Vodafone number, 021..... ringing my phone on the usually 022 network of 2 Degrees, it only takes an hour or two to set up the change over, and is free.
Imagine buying a new iPhone or Android device, without any SIM required for initial use, one of the first setup screens would suggest using their brand new network, an ad. If you chose to stay with Verizon/AT&T....or for some unknown reason, Sprint....or the soon to be swallowed somewhat alive T Mobile, you could do that too.
The phone would come with an easily removable app that would mention some of the benefits of their combined network, you dont want it on there? Boom, its gone, and you have a couple MB's space free :-)
Google and Apple would advertise on television, on podcasts, blogs, on their own websites, non obtrusive, non Freaky Palm Lady ads (perhaps best handled by Apple?) that made their case pretty simply, "two of your favourite companies, Apple and Google have teamed up, to provide Americans with a competitive network, you'll pay a low price, and receive great service - now THATS hope and change you can believe in!" etc.
What would be a good name for such a network? Surely something plain, something simple, and at least somewhat easy to pronounce!
Not "iNetwork" or " Google Carrier+ beta", what about "pipe"? Sounds familiar to Steam, Valve (suing time?), but makes sense, "hey brah, just switched my totally rockin' Galaxy Nexus to Pipe, now all the sick pictures of my band are instantly synched with The Cloud online, as soon as I hit the shutter on that great zero lag camera, yeaaaaaaaah!"
Ok, so I probably shouldnt be in charge of the adverts, sarcastic or otherwise ;-)
Surely the Verge readers/listeners can come up with a better name off the top of their head than "pipe"!
What do you think of the idea? Should things stay the course, of Verizon being the best network, but controlling as hell, extending their historic removing-bluetooth-abilities and un-deletable crapware into blocking Google Wallet etc? With AT&T, who were said to have asked Apple to remove YouTube watching over 3G, to protect their crappy ass network?
Do you really think the carrier "bozos" will ever stop "blowing it"?
Or would you rather have two companies you love and trust, working together for mutual strength and gain, to provide a data only network for the lowest price, nationwide?