Rumors about Google’s upcoming mobile phone – dubbed gPhone – are becoming ever louder.
If you thought Apple’s iPhone business model was disruptive for the wireless industry (demanding 10% of the operator’s revenues from iPhone users – voice and data) – just you wait for Google entering the scene.
There’s not much confirmed information on the device, let alone the business case, but judging from how Google usually goes about, here’s my prediction:
gPhone will not be SIM locked like the iPhone, but rather accept SIM cards from any mobile provider. It will have a WiFi connection and an integrated gTalk client. Whenever the phone is in WiFi coverage, it will use VoIP, thereby only using the mobile operator’s network if no other connection is available. Even for those, I predict that Google will quickly open local VoIP gateway numbers in all major markets, thereby ensuring that the cost of any call made on the gPhone will be limited to a call to a local landline at the most.
All value added services will be ad supported, and as such free to the user. No doubt Google Search, Gmail, Google Maps and other prime Google services will be nicely integrated, giving Google lots of valuable eyeballs and thereby ad revenues.
This will drive gPhone owners to mobile networks offering the lowest fixed monthly prices and data plans, making the operator as dumb a pipe as possible for now.
In a longer run, Google’s interest in the 700MHz auction in the US furthermore opens the possibility that traditional wireless operators could over time be cut out of the value chain altogether.
Oh man, this is going to be one fierce battle!