Google may gain short-term profile by working closely with carriers, but its bigger vision rests on a fully open mobile web, where its services and revenue streams hold pole position.
The search giant has consistently invested in initiatives that should increase availability of cheap, ubiquitous internet access, supporting Wi-Fi metrozones, Clearwire's Wimax build-out and emerging technology start-ups like femtocell specialist Ubiquisys.
Like Intel, it has also shown itself willing to take part in spectrum auctions in pursuit of its goals, and is reported to be interested in the Indian Wimax sale.
Google is not looking to become a conventional operator, but takes an interest in spectrum for two reasons. The first is to pressurize regulators and rival bidders into adopting more open rules, a tactic it used in the US 700MHz auction, where its lobbying helped the imposition of the open access mandate on the national license.
The second is to potentially to create a network for service provider partners offering new-style services. Google's vision includes wholesale super-networks used by a host of providers on an on-demand basis, though Clearwire's multi-MVNO model is as far as this has progressed so far.
In India, Google's interest is in the Wimax spectrum at 2.3GHz rather than the 3G sale, according to reports in India’s Business Standard newspaper.