Google plans to shake up the U.S. wireless market by selling voice plans to consumers.

EXCLUSIVE

Google’s Next Telecom Move: Becoming a Wireless Carrier

Google CEO Larry Page. Photo by Bloomberg.
.
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, making it a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO, they say.
Codenamed “Nova,” the project is led by longtime Google executive Nick Fox. A launch this year seems likely. Mr. Fox had previously looked at starting the service last fall, and some employees have already tested it.

The Takeaway

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.
 

story category

Google Plans To Offer Wireless Services
by Karl Bode 04:04PM Wednesday Jan 21 2015
Last Spring, paywall-loving tech news outlet The Information floated a rather vague rumor that Google was considering a very serious jump into the wireless industry. Eight months later and the news outlet is back with some additional information, claiming that Google’s essentially going to be operating an MVNO that utilizes, at least in part, the T-Mobile and Sprint networks:

quote:


Click for full size

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, making it a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO, they say.


Google’s got about a million irons in the fire when it comes to wireless and creative uses of spectrum right now, so it should be very interesting to see what the end result of all this tinkering will be. Especially on the pricing and plan side of the equation.
A report in the Wall Street Journal notes that Google has been lobbying the government to free up around 150MHz of unused spectrum on the 3.5GHz band. The move is part of an initiative that’s been underway for some time to create new shorter-range broadband alternatives using unlicensed spectrum. Google has been conducting tests across numerous bands on potential wireless technologies the company one day hopes could help complement Google Fiber.
The Journal makes it clear that Google’s been a very busy boy when it comes to pushing the FCC on the issue across 10 meetings and in more than 100 pages of “highly technical filings.” Google’s also been busy acquiring companies and talent that could help its efforts reach fruition:

quote:


Milo Medin, a Google executive who previously led Google Fiber, is heading up an unspecified Internet access project. The company also recently hired Andrew Clegg, a spectrum expert at the National Science Foundation, and Preston Marshall, a spectrum expert formerly of DARPA. This summer, it bought wireless startup Alpental Technologies, which was founded by two former Clearwire Corp. engineers and specializes in developing cheap, high-speed wireless access technologies.


Unsurprisingly the bigger carriers have been a bit less excited about the possibility of spectrum sharing across these bands (given it might open the door to competitors), and have urged the FCC to slow down the pace of considering Google’s proposals. They’re likely just as uninterested in facing a new wireless Google competitor that could do for wireless what Google Fiber has done for the conversation regarding fixed-line broadband competition.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.