Maybe T-Mobile wasn’t sleeping this whole time

Walking to the train tonight it suddenly hit me how awesome T-Mobile’s network announcement (Full HSPA+) was today.  It’s unclear how long they knew the Nexus One was coming, but clearly they knew enough and had enough lead time to pump out the upgrades for launch day.  Doing so takes the network issue  largely off the table.  By partnering with Google, they were able to ride the wave into what will hopefully be the start to how consumers consider their mobile purchase.  AT&T … not quite so fast.

Google has confirmed that Nexus One, and all subsequent Google phones sold via the company’s online store, will be available unlocked for use on every participating carrier. If a particular Google-branded phone is not on a particular carrier, then that’s only because that phone doesn’t have the proper radio to support its network. In addition to being unlocked, the phones will also have bundled plan options where the pricing and details are up to the carrier.

By offering a lineup of phones that is essentially carrier-independent (with the radio compatibility caveat), Google has separated the two previously interlocked parts of the phone/plan-buying experience—phone selection and carrier selection—and has done so in a way that threatens one of the most important enablers of carrier lock-in.

In short, what Google announced today wasn’t just the Nexus One, but the world’s first carrier-independent smartphone store; the Google store is now the only smartphone store in the world where, for every phone on offer, you first pick which phone you want, and then you pick a network and a plan on that network. So you can comparison shop among networks based purely on plan price and network quality, because you already have your phone picked out. via Ars Technica

I’m intrigued by the Nexus One, but not buying anytime soon. I definitely like where Android is going and have a good deal of respect for what Google is trying to do. I’m just not compelled enough to pick up a second mobile bill (@ $80/mo+tax) especially since while the G phones run on GSM, it’s another network band meaning sadly I still do need to consider where I want my 3G.

6 thoughts on “Maybe T-Mobile wasn’t sleeping this whole time”

  1. I looked on the map today and there's a limited amount of 3G in my home area … plenty of EDGE – no thanks. The map certainly looks better than the last time I tried the G1, but I can't go back to 2G. It's a real bummer that TMO uses different bands because if it was the same as ATT we could move back and forth with various devices. $80/mo is too much for what would truly be a secondary device.

  2. I looked on the map today and there's a limited amount of 3G in my home area … plenty of EDGE – no thanks. The map certainly looks better than the last time I tried the G1, but I can't go back to 2G. It's a real bummer that TMO uses different bands because if it was the same as ATT we could move back and forth with various devices. $80/mo is too much for what would truly be a secondary device.

  3. I just don't see the decoupling of phone and price plan as being a difference maker in the US. The technologies are too divergent to make comparison shopping worthwhile. If you like the Nexus One, you're basically stuck to T-Mobile or EDGE with AT&T. Even when Verizon launches the phone, you're still locking yourself to a network. It's pointless to buy the unsubsidized version. Why pay $500 when you're no better off than taking the subsidized version. I just don't know why the press is hyping this up so much. It's useful for Europe where you can easily jump between networks, but it won't make any difference in the US.

  4. Not now, but I think it will start to matter soon enough. Totally agree that thanks to the current bands, the GSM switch for 3G is still in conflict. The CDMA / GSM issue though is becoming something to watch. There are now phones (mainly BB) on VZ and Sprint that can work globally which is a nice change and could lead to more cross-over. I wonder if the VZ / Voda Nexus One will actually be the same product … given the relationship between the companies that might make a lot of sense.

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