Google has publicly denied plans to get into the lucrative business, valued at US$1.3-trillion globally, but industry experts say it is inevitable. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company already has its toes in it with offerings such as Google Talk and the hugely popular YouTube video service. A major splash is only a matter of time, and when Google -- with its mammoth US$163-billion market capitalization -- does dive in, phone company takeovers and Apple gizmos will look like quaint curiosities.
"It's not an if, it's a when," says California-based technology analyst Rob Enderle. "Different parts of this are coming in at different speeds, but once they're done what they plan to do is offer comprehensive services through their own backbone and effectively lock a lot of the traditional players out of the market. A lot of them don't even see it coming."