Google's influence and market power with key telecommunications industry stakeholders is having a significant impact on the industry, according to Gartner.
"The communications industry 'ecosystem' < encompassing regulators, Internet service providers, advertising, and media customers and service providers – finds itself in Google's crosshairs, not because Google necessarily wants to compete with telecom service providers or content developers, but because it finds their business process to be an impediment to innovation and change," says Alex Winogradoff, research vice-president at Gartner.
Winogradoff says Google will continue to be a market disruptor and disintermediator, especially in the communications market.
"Carriers should selectively partner with Google rather than trying to compete, especially in areas where they don't have differentiated and core assets," he says. "However, carriers should also find common ground with Google (for example, on network neutrality) and, if necessary, look for creative ways to oppose Google on issues critical to their survival."
Gartner says that coming late to the operating-system and mobile markets has not been a problem for Google and that its Android and Open Handset Alliance (OHA) activities have already had a profound effect on the mobile industry.
In addition to disrupting the traditional telecom ecosystem, Google's actions are diluting the market potential and the service providers' ability to profitably monetise their investments in new markets (such as entertainment and software as a service (SaaS) applications).
Gartner has highlighted six critical actions by Google that have already had, or will have, the greatest impact on the telecom industry. These include:
* 700MHz auctions;
* Formation of OHA and the Android Open Mobile-Device Platform;
* Fuelling the network neutrality debate;
* Looking to own both static and dynamic location information;
* Promoting "white space" spectrum development; and
* Engaging in business via Google's cloud" and SaaS offerings.