Google Reportedly Preparing to Launch its Own Wireless Service

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According to a report from The Information, Google is working to become a carrier by building its own wireless service. Several sources note that the project (codenamed Project Nova) is underway and the service will piggyback on the existing networks of T-Mobile and Sprint.

Purchasing bandwidth from two of the four national U.S. carriers would allow Google to launch an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator). By doing this, Google would be a wireless carrier that would be able to sell phone plans to consumers.

“Google is preparing to sell mobile phone plans directly to customers and manage their calls and mobile data over a cellular network, according to three people with knowledge of the plans.

The new service is expected run on Sprint and T-Mobile’s networks, two people familiar with the product say. Google is expected to reach deals to buy wholesale access to those carriers’ mobile voice and data networks.”

Google has shown interest in providing internet service directly to customers over the past several years. For example, Google Fiber, which aims to provide high quality internet access to consumers, and Project Loon, which aims to connect people in rural areas.

Many giants in Silicon Valley, including Apple and Google, have been rumoured to be working on their own wireless service for several years. The upside for the company is that if they control the network, Google would be able to control the experience on the devices and services they sell.

Project Nova aims to aggregate multiple carriers to provide users with a better experience by providing a larger coverage footprint. According to the report, Google is trying to get creative with plan pricing by experimenting with “communication apps.” Little is known about what those may entail, however, a modern day example would be Google Voice which allows users to make cheap international calls.

“Google plans to shake up the U.S. wireless market by selling voice plans to consumers, through expected deals with T-Mobile and Sprint. It’s the latest example of how Google tries to prod incumbents to change their business to benefit Google.”

The report says that Google executive Nick Fox, who is in charge of Project Nova, wanted to launch the service last fall. It is still unclear when the company will make the announcement, however, sources point to an imminent release.

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  • Tim

    MVNO’s usually suck as they’re constrained by the actual carrier. Surely – T-Mobile isn’t going to let Google undercut it.

  • Nick

    I’m sure if Google does become an MVNO it would be on their terms. I don’t think they would do it if they were too constrained by the carrier.

  • talkiewalkie

    Will never happen in Canada as long as the CRTC is around!

  • markt9002

    It’s already happening. Look at Harbor Wireless in the US. It’s not throttled, uses a T-Mobile postpaid APN, and their $30 plan gives you 2.5GB of data and unlimited calling/texting.

  • Biggy604

    If Rogers/Bell/Telus have their way, Google wont be entering Canada at all.

    Look how they used their scare tactics on Verison Wireless (which all parties claim did not happen).

  • Chrome262

    I am sure they will be happy to sell them bandwidth at inflated prices. That is what is before the CRTC now. Smaller carriers are trying to get into other markets and are trying to get prices down.

  • Chrome262

    I find though that Tim is right in a way, they tend to not have access to all towers and coverage is limited. Now its a good start for a company, once they get market share they can start buying towers.

  • Chrome262

    Wasn’t T-Mobile a MVNO?

  • Salinger

    It has nothing to do with the CRTC. It will never happen in Canada as long as Rogers, TELUS and Bell own the infrastructure and can dictate how much they charge to use it. That’s why we don’t have any decent MVNO’s in Canada. The Big 3 charge so much to use their networks, there’s no way to offer a significant savings to consumers; that being their whole point.

  • Lakh Jhajj

    Google need to come North and buy Wind and Moblicity and more spectrum to launch their own wireless service with LTE. I am sure it will be a game changer in the wireless market. Google will easily achieve what Wind and Moblicity and Public failed to achieve bec they got the capital to back such a move and buying spectrum is easier and cheaper for new startups in Canada.

    And then Google Fiber 1000 Mbps up and down. Awesome.

    Just dreaming guys I know this will never happen at least not soon enough. So we r stuck with the ROBBERS!!

  • markt9002

    Having used about 10 MVNOs in the past three years. That’s bullshit. There is always a bit of throttling, but you’re using the same exact towers postpaid users have access to.