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Google's wireless service could launch nationwide in first half of the year
More details have emerged about Google’s secret plan to become a wireless service provider.
The Information and the WSJ reported last week that Google is readying the launch of its own MVNO service, using Sprint’s and T-Mobile’s networks. Now WSJ is back with a few more details on how Google wants to disrupt the highly competitive wireless industry.
According to the WSJ, Google’s current goal is to launch its service in the first half of 2015, though this timeframe is subject to change; a launch that was previously scheduled for October 2015 was cancelled. Contrary to speculation that the service would be initially limited to a small number of test markets, Google’s service is likely to be offered nationwide, says the report.
Google’s wireless service will rely heavily on Wi-Fi connections
Google’s wireless service will rely heavily on Wi-Fi connections, with cellular service bought from T-Mobile and Sprint as fallback when Wi-Fi is not available. Google already has a deal in place with Sprint, though the carrier reportedly used a volume clause to protect itself from giving too much access to Google.
At least initially, Google doesn’t want to lower prices, one person familiar with the matter said. The actual goal is to give users excellent service without them having to commit to a long-term carrier agreement. But Google is working on a technology that would see wireless providers bid for connections in real time, ensuring that the user gets the smallest price. Indirectly, this competition could lead to smaller prices, the source said.
There are already companies out there using Wi-Fi to bring prices down. Just last week, FreedomPop launched a plan that gives customers access to 10 million Wi-Fi hotspots for just $5 a month. Google will presumably attempt something similar. The company could even rely entirely on data, giving users access to Google Voice over data, instead of conventional voice access. Google is also interested in the use of currently unused radio spectrum to build a network of Wi-Fi hotspots in certain cities.