Google Wanted To Subsidize Data Plans Through T-Mobile Before Android Platform Launched

As the Oracle v. Google trial continues today over patents, documents shown during the trial hinted that Google mentioned to T-Mobile back in 2006 that it wanted to subsidize Android data plans for $9.99. By Google’s math, customers would pay just $9.99 a month for unlimited data — to help subsidize the reduced cost, the company would forgo commissions it would earn from T-Mobile for referring Android buyers to its online store. Google believed that its own services, Gmail, search, and so on would consume about 15MB a month, a figure that would likely never hold up to todays data usage patterns.

As the first Android phone released with the T-Mobile G1, the data plans ultimately landed at $25 and $35 dollars leaving Google’s vision to be forever in the rear view mirror.

Oh, what could have been.

The Verge

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  • Wow, this could have worked.  They should have given it some more thought, I can’t believe this was swept under the rug.

  • Bleacherbums1

    Very interesting David….

  • Guest

    15 MB/mo?  How many decades ago was that figure generated?  :)

    • mrsbelpit

      2007, so before data speeds were any good?  Plus, they had almost no apps.

      • Deaconclgi

        Yeah, in that day and age, WAP sites were all the rage. Mostly text based, kb using sites. I’ve been holding on the Tzones since those days. Many years of Desktop browsing using Nokia devices. I remember saying “Look, it can load the page just like on the computer!!!!!!!!!!!!” using my N82 and $4.99 unlimited web…then streaming Hulu in the Symbian browser a year later for $5.99 Tzones.

        THEN…mobile tech exploded, everything got faster, used more data and cost more money. T-Mobile managed to convince me to let go of 3 lines of my Tzones but I have 2 lines still holding on to the dream, surfing 4G without limits at $5.99. :)

    • 21stNow

       I’ve had a data plan for at least 10 years.  Prior to my iPhone in 2010, I had used more than 1MB of data only one month.  The websites were so slow, and RAM was so limited on my Nokia E62, I usually gave up before the third web page loaded. Plus, Deaconclgi is right about WAP pages.  They used significantly less data than what you see today.

  • Try again Google!

  • fixxmyhead

    its a shame

  • BigMixxx

    So the truth comes in regards to overcharging for data…

    • Guest

      Curious what the margin is on data.  Do you happen to know?

      • BigMixxx

        I have no idea.  The thing here is the reality of it all.

        Mobile corporations are overcharging for data.  Not saying google is right, but stating that 10 bucks for data is dirt cheap.  

        It also points our something.  These lawsuits for all of this stuff is wasted time…

  • Bruce Banner

    That would have brought coroners in

    • Bruce Banner

      Would have brought customers in

  • Wilma Flintstone

    This needs to be reconsidered. Of course, Now that these money hungry corporations see that they can get away with ridiculous rates for limited 3G/4G web, this will most likely remain under the carpet.

    I have but one question though, seeing as how Google wanted to do this, does this mean that only Android phones would’ve benefitted from that rate plan?

    • 30014

      I would say Android only. I’m pretty sure Google didn’t want to help rim or apple sell their products.

  • Loopylogic

    oh well. it would have been interesting to see this unfold during the early days of android. now that android is popular, i guess we will never see this happening. : ( 

  • GinaDee

    T-Mobile threw an iPhone-like opportunity out the window.  Not surprising considering the competence of their management team over the past few years. 

    • BahamasGeek242

      I guess in a way they did but at least they were willing to even put the Android phone on the network when no other carrier wanted it.  I think people forget that the HTC G1 was the first Android phone and it was ONLY available on T-mobile.  As a T-mobile subscriber for 14years I feel like we should have the Nexus line of  phones exclusively or at least for 4 months before anybody 

  • JBLmobileG1

    Being that ICS uses cloud based storage, or so I heard… people would be using data non stop so of course the cellular companies need to charge a lot for data and with caps. If this was Googles plan then why not get rid of cloud base storage only and let customers use an SD card because now that idea will never fly.

    • JBrowne1012

      Because the cloud offers more storage and is more convenient than carrying 20 32gb sd cards

  • Loopylogic

    This is what blackberry should be doing today. 

  • Shameful! T-Mobile strikes again. Smh…

    • HeLLO

       Shameful! The idiot posts again.What the hell is smh? Oh I guess it’s what the kids use now and days huh.

      • nycplayboy78

        SMH = Shaking My Head

      • IRIE4IPIER

        Lol, smh

  • stevejobbed

    As a former T-Mobile manager I remember hearing something similar to this. But keep in mind that in 2006 the iphone had not yet been released and prior to that most people didn’t have data phones. Also keep in mind that former CEO Robert Dotson held the opinion that data devices were not the future as he didn’t feel that a majority of customer would be wiling to commit to a data plan, especially on family plans. Obviously there were some miscalculations there. 

  • MikeTeeVee

    I’m paying $10 per month today for data on T-Mobile’s Value plan.  That’s for 2GB of data at 4G speeds.

    • How do you live with that small amount?

      • Phozfate

         lots of wifi?

      • 21stNow

         2GB is small?  I guess it depends on how you use your phone.  I use mine quite a bit, in my opinion, and I’ve only gone over 2GB once.  That time was when I had to do a factory data reset and started redownloading my apps before I had set Wi-fi up.

  • Kevin Kerr

    I’m paying $20 a month for 5GB of 4G data.

    • Cosign…Android Preferred Data baby. WOOT WOOT!

      • Deaconclgi

        I have the $20 Android Preferred Data 5GB 4G AND the $20 Preferred Smartphone 5GB 4G plan for WP….and $5.99 Unlimited 4G Tzones, plus another $5.99 Unlimited 4G Tzones….,oh and a $9.99 200MB plan I got suckered into :)

        Honestly, those cheap, grandfathered Data plans are the ONLY thing that is keeping me with T-Mobile. I just relocated to a 2G only area and 4G kicks in 27 miles away.

        5GB 4G with ATT is $50 per line plus $1000 ETF with T-Mobile…. I’ll pass. I’m using Wifi at home and I will be working in a 4G location hopefully.

    • Im jealous I have Unlimited Loyalty Plan with a 35 unlimited android web& data package that includes 5 GB How did you get one for 5GBs and $20 Dollars?

  • TMobileRep

    Regardless of what anyone say people want what they want. I’ve had plenty deactivations cause of the Iphone and I have had more with Monthly4G on Edge network. Customers are willing to have less quality service just to have a phone that is not all that hot! T-Mobile will have it by the end of this year but we will have other and better devices too!

  • Maxinllerzeta

    Why don’t you people switch to simple mobile and get more for your money. I use to have transamobile. Tmobile. But I cancel my contract, paying $85 dls for 2gb of data 750 whenever mins and unlimited texts. Now with simple mobile I get for $60 dls unlimited data, whenever mins and texts.

    • Donnie Civro

      I have simple mobile on my old iphone and my plan is only 40$ a month for unlimited everything.