Since T-Mobile started its UnCarrier revolution two years ago we’ve had plenty of time to get used to the fact that the carrier shakes the whole mobile industry. The Magenta network, however, doesn’t hold a monopoly on shocking people. Today’s surprise comes from no other than Google. The company apparently is planning to disturb the US wireless market and become a wireless carrier.
Google is preparing to launch own wireless service – meet Project Nova.
As Amir Efrati of The Information reports, Google is preparing to launch its own wireless service. Well, not exactly. The company actually won’t be an owner of a network, but instead will buy wireless access from T-Mobile and Sprint and offer it to customers. It means that customers in fact will be using T-Mobile or Sprint’s bands but their service plans will be sold by Google. This way Google will become a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), pretty much like Straight Talk, Metro PCS or Virgin Mobile.
The project is called Nova and apparently has been in testing since at least last fall. Way to go Google for keep it a secret until now. The company will offer voice and data plans most likely through the Play Store, though it also could use another online store. People familiar with the matter claim that Google intends to use project Nova to force wireless carriers to offer more competitive prices for their services.
It’s not Google’s first attempt at becoming MVNO however. A while back a word on the street was that the company would offer wireless plans with its Nexus smartphone. The plan has never materialized so apparently Google dropped it without any explanation but didn’t give up on the idea.
At the moment there are no details regarding Google’s new project but it’s clear that the company must have some super-innovative ideas. In order to earn money, Google will have to buy wireless access from another network at a certain price and sell it to customers at a higher price. That puts a big question mark on the “bringing prices down” goal.
Unless the company negotiates some kind of special deal with either T-Mobile or Sprint, it could be facing a huge challenge. On the other hand, Google likes challenges so let’s wait and see how events unfold.