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Google Wants to Become a Wireless Carrier, But It's Not What You Think

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We've long heard whisperings that Google wanted to become a wireless carrier, and over the weekend, a Google executive confirmed those rumors. Intriguing! Just imagine Google Fiber—but for mobile. However, Google's not trying to compete with the Verizons and AT&Ts of the world. Think of it more like Nexus for networks.

Long story short, Google will announce a new initiative to become a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) in the coming months. (MVNO's are companies like TracFone that buy up network services from infrastructure owners at wholesale and sell them to the public at a discount.) Google's Sundar Pichai revealed the project at Mobile World Congress and likened the initiative to its Nexus program for hardware.

In other words, wading into wireless waters would allow Google to do for wireless what Nexus does for hardware: experimentation on a small scale. You can also compare it to what Google Fiber is doing with high-speed internet. "We don't intend to be network operator at scale," Pichai said in Barcelona.


So Google's not exactly going to face off against the Verizons and AT&Ts of the world, but it is going to cozy up to them. Like Nexus, it'd be more like a Google-designed wireless plan but actually delivered by Verizon.

That could bear big implications for Android. The specifics are unknown, so that's just speculation at this point, but you can imagine how Google might design the operating system differently if it also controls the data plan. For now, though, it'll be an intriguing experiment to watch—not to mention the Googleverse expanding even deeper into your communications.