Google Wants to Buy T-Mobile USA?


You can expect to hear lots of rumors about "who wants to buy T-Mobile USA" in the coming months, if only because T-Mobile USA parent Deutsche Telekom really needs a "plan B" that allows it to gracefully exit the U.S. market and redeploy capital elsewhere.

In that vein, SNL Kagan says it has been told both Dish Network and Google have submitted formal offers to buy the firm. One never knows whether, in fact, such bids have been made, or how serious such bids might be.  Rumors of that sort get "leaked" all the time as trial balloons, sometimes in hopes of spurring serious thinking on a transaction.

That Dish Network plans to build a Long Term Evolution fourth generation network is not in doubt, and Dish executives have not shied away from saying they will buy or build as makes sense, financially.

A Google bid would be more complicated, given Google's status as primary backer of an open mobile operating system and owner of Motorola Mobility, a handset manufacturer and retailer. But, these days, it is quite hard to avoid all possible channel conflict.

Most people can think of all sorts of reasons why Google would not want to own T-Mobile USA. Operating a service provider business is a lower-margin business than Google is used to, is a difficult business that might slow the rest of Google down, raise new regulatory concerns and also make many of its other businesses a bit harder to run.

On the other hand, most people could probably think up ways it would benefit Google's other mobile-related businesses if Google had a ready made way to create products, define handsets and then get quick adoption in the market on at least one leading network.

It's the sort of thinking one suspects is happening at Amazon, about why it wants to be a supplier of tablet devices, and might well want to get into the smart phone business as well.

Smart phones and tablets both have become important content consumption platforms, and both Amazon and Google are in the content business, in different ways.

But it's just a rumor, at the moment.

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