Google Plans to Offer its Own Cellular Service

Google Senior VP Sundar Pichai, head of Android, Chrome, and Google Apps.
Google Senior VP Sundar Pichai, head of Android, Chrome, and Google Apps.

Google Senior VP Sundar Pichai today discussed a possible wireless service that Google could launch in the next few months.

“We don’t intend to be a carrier at scale, and we’re working with existing partners,” Pichai said in a public Q&A session at Mobile World Congress, according to The Verge. “You’ll see some of our ideas come to fruit in the next few months.” Pichai oversees Android, Chrome, and Google Apps.

The Information reported last month that Google plans to become an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator), reselling Sprint and T-Mobile network capacity to consumers rather than building out its own cell towers. “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 site reported at the time.

When asked if Verizon Wireless and AT&T will object, Pichai said, “We’ve talked with them about all this, we’re working with some partners to do what we’re doing. Carriers in the US are what powers most of our Android phones and that model works really well for us.”

“It’s a very small scale compared to the rest of the OEM industry, but it pushes the needle,” Pichai also said. “I think we’re at the stage where we need to think of hardware, software, and connectivity together. Especially with things like watches.”

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SOURCE: Jon Brodkin
ars technica