Google and Apple have a love/hate relationship with wireless carriers. For the longest time, carriers enjoyed selling dumbphones by traditional and fringe manufacturers. These manufacturers were perfectly satisfied with the rules and regulations devised by our carrier of choice. I cringe when I recall the red-tinged OS that used to grace Verizon’s phones.
Google, Apple, and to some extent Blackberry changed that. These tech wunderkinds were able to use their popularity and resources to convince carriers that the mobile phone market should resemble the PC device market. Consumers had different tastes and wanted their devices to have polish and finesse. They carried iPods and laptops. It was time for their phones to match. To consumers, the departure was great. Mobile phones didn’t suck anymore. However, the creators of the now ubiquitous superphones began to grow weary of the carriers’ traditional attitudes. First Apple was rumored to start a carrier. AT&T quickly bent to Apple’s very will (while making billions from iPhone users).
Then came Google, the company that has made a reputation for giving its users freedom with their devices (I’m not going to touch privacy concerns here!). Since the Nexus One, Google has sought to give users a pure android experience from purchase to use. Its recent experience with the Galaxy Nexus LTE has left a sour taste in their mouths. Sprint and Verizon’s stringent testing regulations resulted in Nexus users on those networks to be months behind of their GSM counterparts’ update schedule. As a result the Nexus 4 is on one carrier and lacks LTE entirely.
With this in mind, it is no surprise to that the Boy Genius Report is reporting that Google seeks to start its own wireless carrier in partnership with DISH Network. Google could finally create the pure Android experience that it longs for. It is important to note that the move is not easy to pull off—even for Google. Whether it works is a shot in the dark to outside observers. Still, this is a move that highlights a growing frustration with carriers that constantly limit the potential of great user experiences.