Light Reading

Google's '5G' Buy: Eyeing IPR Ahead?

Dan Jones

You might wonder why Google is buying Alpental -- a company that claims its technology supports "5G" -- years before the next generation of cellular services actually comes into being.

I think that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is making a bet on what intellectual property it will need in the future.

Alpental CEO and co-founder Peter Gelbman says on his LinkedIn profile that he helped "co-invent" the patents around "a new self-organizing, ultra low power Gigabit wireless technology to extend fiber optics." The low-key startup appears to have attempted to develop a 60GHz mmWave radio system for super-fast backhaul in urban areas. (See Google Buys Alpental for Potential 5G Future.)

For sure, 5G is at least five or six years away from commercial deployment. In Google's view, I suspect, it never hurts to start pulling in intellectual property that is likely -- though not 100% certain yet -- to be part of the 5G specification. It particularly can't hurt if it can get that -- and radio talent -- from a small company like Alpental now, rather than paying billions for the pleasure later. (See Google Keeps Quiet on Plans for Moto.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Sabre
8/6/2014 | 4:06:28 PM
Re: Google's '5G' Buy: Eyeing IPR Ahead?
@mhhf1ve, interesting - it does make sense.  If anyone can execute, it is Google.  That could be a good thing.
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/6/2014 | 3:07:30 PM
Re: Google's '5G' Buy: Eyeing IPR Ahead?
Google's interest in wireless technologies that are far-out... makes me wonder if Google has a long term plan to become an ISP with fiber and wireless offerings of its own. Google has some "wireless balloons" and some tinkerings with broadband via "low orbit" vehicles that could help flesh out its nascent fiber network.

Who knows how many cities Google will be serving 1Gbps service to in... 20 years? It could be a surprisingly high number? Maybe? Hopefully?
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/23/2014 | 9:34:17 PM
Re: Google's '5G' Buy: Eyeing IPR Ahead?
Dan, interesting view and analysis. 

It makes sense that a forward-looking company like Google is looking at buying the intellectual talent, as much as the technology itself.  The fact that he has come up with scalable applications, as well as the future designs, suggests that he has intellectual value to bring to Google's tent.

I wonder if this will not be a model for the future - investing in the intellectual capital as much as the technology designs themselves?
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