Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Project Loon a Wholesale Provider to Mobile Companies?

Will Google become a wholesale provider of transmission infrastructure to mobile service providers in developing markets in the global south? It appears possible that could happen. 

Google's Project Loon, testing use of steerable balloons to provider Internet access across the global south, is looking at ways to lease its transmission platform to mobile service providers, as the balloons pass over areas those mobile service providers want to serve, in various countries. 

The advantage to mobile service providers is the new way to reach customers in areas not presently reached directly by mobile facilities. 

But wholesale also solves a significant problem Project Loon faces, namely access to enough spectrum, above each country, to supply reasonable amounts of Internet access. And that is a matter of how much spectrum Project Loon might have to work with.

Working as a wholesale provider of capacity to licensed mobile service providers would solve the spectrum access problem, in large part, while also potentially giving mobile service providers a fast way to create Long Term Evolution capacity, for example, in isolated regions. 

In principle, the balloon capacity also could be used as backhaul to mobile towers as well. 

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