Gartner: Google threatens traditional telco models

Telecom carriers would benefit from showing some love toward Google, instead of fighting over issues such as net neutrality, white space spectrum usage and selling software-as-a-service over carrier networks.

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Telecom carriers would benefit from showing some love toward Google, instead of fighting over issues such as net neutrality, white space spectrum usage and selling software-as-a-service over carrier networks.

This is the opinion of Gartner analyst Alex Winogradoff. If the carriers don't accommodate and partner in some areas with Google, they stand to lose, said Winogradoff, who wrote a report on ways that Google could influence the future of telecom.

The coming battles could be large and industry-altering, but they are avoidable, said Winogradoff in an interview Thursday.

"For Google, it's all about access," Winogradoff said. "Google is not interested in competing as much as loosening the ties that bind. They want to be the store and source for all the world's information, as in all roads lead through Google ... Everybody gets sucked into its maelstrom."

If Google gives away free applications or capabilities that carriers have tried to charge for, that "destroys the carrier business model and disrupts the ecosystem ... that's Google's game," Winogradoff said.

Carriers and their wireless units need to "selectively partner with Google rather than try to compete," Winogradoff added.

"The issue is ... to what degree Google destroys [the carriers'] business case and business model, Winogradoff said. "It's more in the new service categories [such as entertainment, SaaS and cloud computing] where the carriers' future growth expectations may be severely impacted if they don't find a solution in partnering with Google."

None of the major carriers nor Google could be reached immediately for comment on this story.

Jack Gold, an analyst at US-based J. Gold Associates, said he was not so sure that partnerships between carriers and Google are the solution. But, he said, the telecommunications world is still far from open, despite some steps carriers have made toward openness.

NEXT PAGE: Google's influence on the future of telecommunications

 
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