Would Google Buy T-Mobile? Unlikely

Years ago there were always suggestions and discussion about whether Google would acquire a newspaper or yellow pages publisher. The culture of Google and those types of companies were so different -- which the proponents never fully understood -- that it was never going to happen. Now we have a similar argument going on in favor of Google buying the US operations of German carrier T-Mobile.

T-Mobile is struggling in the UK and US. In the UK the company has sought to form a joint venture with Orange and merge their operations. It has yet to be approved by regulators. In the US there have been persistent rumors that T-Mobile would have to do something similar or buy smaller carriers or merge with Sprint, etc. to advance its position in the market. 

Android devices and aggressive pricing have not been able to move the needle for the company. The same is true for number three US carrier Sprint, however the company did lose a much smaller number of postpaid customers last quarter

From Google's point of view, there's a certain logic to buying a carrier: 

  • It wants to sell phones directly to the market
  • It gets a network
  • It gets retail outlets to push its devices

However, I'm still quite skeptical that this would happen because of HR issues (buying employees) and other questions (direct competition with carrier partners). But it's not as much of a stretch now, given Google's plans and strategy, as the "Google should buy a newspaper" arguments made in the past. 

While Google is unlikely to buy a T-Mobile it's hypothetically possible that Google would make an investment in T-Mobile to gain access to its network, as it has with Sprint's Clearwire.