We can't say we didn't see this coming, but the news that Google is considering a move into the UK wireless market has come in particularly quickly - it was only Thursday that saw Ofcom's announcement of plans to auction a third of the UK's mobile spectrum.
The plans - to liberate a portion of the 900MHz spectrum currently used by O2 and Vodafone - will see an auction in 2009 that could raise £6 billion and see lots (Ofcom want a minimum of three) of interested parties.
With Google already planning to bid in the forthcoming US spectrum auction next year, supposedly in a possible attempt to become a mobile phone operator in the States, it certainly seemed possible that Google might eye our upcoming spectrum sale.
The Guardian reports that "Google is understood to be considering its move into wireless" but may face competition from Orange, T-Mobile and 3 in the auction. Vodafone and O2 will not be allowed to bid.
Google is working on a mobile phone, dubbed the gPhone, and as its features may provide too much competition for mobile phone operators to want to carry on their networks, its thought Google is looking into becoming a standalone operator in the long-term, although a version of the phone may be offered on other networks in the mean time.
Ofcom wants the spectrum, given to O2 and Vodafone by the government 22 years ago, freed in order to create a mobile broadband network for the UK's overlooked rural areas, to cover 90% of the population.