Consumers may soon be able to trade free phone calls for targeted advertising, if Google gets its way. Industry experts speculate that the tech giant is quietly developing plans to market cell phones with an ad-based service in exchange for free minutes, BusinessWeek reports. The big wireless carriers, while privately haunted by the idea, are publicly nonplussed.
“We don’t believe in a world where you have to give everything away for free,” sniffs an AT&T spokesman, a premise Google is banking on. But BusinessWeek says it faces several hurdles: possible customer resistance to nagging advertisements, and the $4.6 billion price tag to secure a swath of the radio spectrum that would allow it to offer phone service.