Google is getting ready to launch its own MVNO wireless service, according to a report by The Information.
Headed by longtime Google executive Nick Fox, the project, known as Nova, is said to have been in testing since at least last fall. Google will buy wireless access – voice and data — wholesale from T-Mobile and Sprint and sell it to its customers. This model, known as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), is widely employed in the US and worldwide – Republic Wireless and Tracfone are some well-known examples of MVN operators.
According to The Information, which cites three people familiar with the matter, Google sees Project Nova as an experiment and as a tool for forcing wireless carriers to offer better services or lower prices. Google will sell voice and data plans through an online store, probably the Play Store. At one point, the company considered bundling wireless plans with its Nexus smartphone, though it’s not clear what came of that plan. The project is likely to launch sometime this year, says the report.
It’s not the first time we’re hearing about Google’s ambition to become a MVN operator, in order to disrupt the telecom incumbents, which Google’s leadership perceives as slow to innovate and determined to preserve the status quo. The Mountain View company is doing something similar with Fiber, and, in the handful of markets where Fiber rolled out so far, competing providers did step up their offerings. It remains to be seen whether Google will manage to meaningfully disrupt the wireless industry.
What do you think of having Google as your carrier?