Google should buy Sprint and lead the drive to making ubiquitous wireless data access available, affordable, and capable. Why Google? Because the major U.S. carriers -- Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile -- certainly won't. They've been promising a mobile data future for more than a decade.
Yet what do we experience? Poor 3G coverage from AT&T, which unfortunately happens to offer the mostly widely used mobile device to access the Web, the iPhone. So AT&T's puny 3G network has to be overwhelmed.
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Verizon Wireless's 3G network can't support simultaneous data and voice usage (an issue with the underlying CDMA2000 technology for which a fix is to be made available to carriers by mid-2010). And how good Verizon's 3G network really is has yet to be tested, given its first real Web-oriented smartphone, the Droid, went on sale only last month. But at least the 3G coverage is wide.
Sprint's 3G network supports the Amazon Kindle and Palm's WebOS-based Pre, but neither has picked up the adoption numbers needed to actually stress the network. And T-Mobile has never really played the 3G game.
So why should Google buy Sprint? And what should Google do with Sprint?
What Sprint brings to Google
Sprint has struggled for many years now, living largely off pay-as-you-go customers. Despite an enthusiastic following, the Palm Pre has not been the hoped-for hit in the business and professional markets. Also, Sprint's resorted to price-cutting to gain customers rather than by offering compelling products and services, so it's vulnerable.