Google and Dish Network have explored partnering on a new wireless service to compete with major providers such as AT&T and Verizon, the Wall Street Journal reports. Talks are preliminary and may go nowhere according to sources cited by the Journal. Dish has also held exploratory talks with other potential partners who were not identified. Dish has acquired wireless spectrum over the past few years and has said it wants a partner to build a network to provide mobile phone and Internet services. Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen said today some of the potential partners include companies that don’t currently have a wireless business but would like to enter the space. Ergen said it would be easier for Dish to go with a company that already has towers and network infrastructure for transmitting data.
Google has already taken steps to expand into Internet delivery to personal computers and mobile devices. It has begun installing fiber-optic cable to homes in Kansas City, Kan, for an ultra-high-speed Internet and video delivery service that will compete with Time Warner Cable and Dish. Google believes that faster Internet speeds at home and on mobile devices will boost its search, Gmail and YouTube business and revenue. Although Google doesn’t currently have wireless infrastructure or own spectrum, the company has about $45 billion in cash which could be used to help build a new network.
Separately, Dish has sought regulatory approval to use its spectrum to launch a wireless service to complement its satellite TV service. Dish CEO Ergen initially identified T-Mobile and Sprint as potential partners but Sprint has decided to merge with Japan’s Softbank and T-Mobile is acquiring MetroPCS.