Would Google Buy Sprint?

from the and-what-would-they-do-with-it? dept

Last month, when Sprint's investors pressured former CEO Gary Forsee to resign, Derek Kerton's post here on Techdirt made some compelling points:
"The disconnect is that investors in Sprint are risk-averse, Blue-chip, dividend seekers. They invested in Sprint when it was a utility company. But Sprint's 'gambit' into WiMAX has taken them way out of the 'utility company' comfort zone -- and the reaction of the investors is as expected. With Xohm, Sprint's risk profile is looking more and more like a big tech firm, say Yahoo or Apple. Today's Sprint needs risk-seeking investors, not fixed-income seekers."
Could a big risk-seeking investor -- who surely sees an opportunity in "big tech" rather than as a "utility" play be coming along? That, at least, is the premise of a blog post from Rich Tehrani kicking off speculation that Google is sniffing around to buy Sprint -- a rumor perhaps accurately called "hare-brained" by Eric Savitz.

While I tend to lean towards Savitz's view of the likelihood of such a deal, there are some nuggets in there that could make this slightly more interesting. Obviously, Google has a tremendous interest in the mobile space these days, believing it's a key part of its continued growth. The company has made plenty of noise about its supposed intention to bid for the 700 MHz spectrum that's coming up for auction. On top of that, it's increasingly looking like Sprint's WiMax plans are in trouble. However, Sprint still controls a huge chunk of 2.5 GHz spectrum that is quite valuable (whether its used for WiMax or some other wireless broadband technology). It's not entirely ridiculous to think that Google has at least kicked the tires on a plan that would involve getting access to that spectrum. It seems like a stretch that Google would want to burden itself with all the additional legacy issues associated with Sprint, but that chunk of spectrum sure must look tempting to a company with billions of dollars on hand, just waiting to be spent.

Filed Under: rumors, wimax, wireless
Companies: google, sprint


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  1. identicon
    Shun, 12 Nov 2007 @ 1:19pm

    Hmm...well, here goes

    I posted a blank comment before this one.

    OK, to go over my point: the FCC is the problem.

    The problem is not Sprint, Nextel, Qwest, AT&T, or Verizon, although all of these companies share the blame. The FCC keeps a limited number of licenses under its hood, and releases them like a curmudgeon every time the world changes, which is more and more frequently, these days.

    People: there is this think called a software-defined radio. It allows you to listen before you broadcast, so that you are not stepping on someone else's signal. This and packet switching may do away with this "I have spectrum x through y, you have spectrum y through z" B.S. Does the FCC take any of this great work into account? Of course not.

    The FCC is living in 1934. They are dinosaurs, along with all of the rent-seeking telecoms who live in this era.

    Google is just trying to get a piece of the spectrum so they can use it for their own nefarious ends. Is this evil? Well, in a world where everything is stacked against the good guy, is it even survivable not to be evil? Will good raise the stock price? Will good attract customers? The default option is to do evil. Sorry folks. "Evil always wins, because good is stupid."

    It's time to stop playing stupid, everyone. I don't care who wins, although our chances are marginally better if Google wins, because they are not a fully entrenched tele-monopoly, and they may not, initially, know how the game is played. We may be able to sneak some apps on the Android phone which allows actual p2p communication, by-passing the central office.

    We need to get SDR's into the wild, and start hacking phones. Only when we have the power to decide what we can do with our phones will the telecom monopolies go away.

    Yeah, I don't think it'll happen either.

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