One of the most unexpected announcements to come out of MWC was confirmation from Google that it is planning to launch its own mobile carrier. Senior VP Sundar Pichai promised more information in the coming months but stressed that the intention wasn’t to become a large-scale network operator.
Now, new rumours are suggesting that the network will only be usable by owners of Google’s own Nexus smartphone. A report in the Wall Street Journal suggests that Google’s MVNO will only work with the newest Nexus phone, the 5.95-inch Nexus 6. WSJ cites people familiar with the matter that say Google had initially intended to launch the service in the coming weeks but that the launch date could be delayed.
Very little is known about the network right now, though previous rumours have said Google is talking to Sprint and T-Mobile about using their network infrastructure. During MWC, Pichai described the network as “experimental” and small, and said it would merge cell and WiFi networks seamlessly. It’s unlikely this experiment will expand beyond the United States.
Google I/O is scheduled for the end of May this year, so we’re expecting a bit more information on these plans then. Realistically, if Google wants to keep the network small, making it only available to the smallest subset of Nexus users is the best way to do that. How much the company will charge for the service remains to be seen.
[source]Wall Street Journal[/source]