Google poised to launch MVNO service today, reports say

22 Apr 2015

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and others report that Google Inc could launch its new mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service today, basing the service on an innovative model that charges users only for the data they actually use each month. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s MVNO Monday, an Android application blog report leaked the suggestion that the search engine-turned telco intended to charge its new MVNO customers ‘per GB’ for mobile internet access, along with a credit for any unused data and the option to share data plans. Additionally, over-usage fees will reportedly be charged on a flat rate per-GB basis, while voice calls and SMS in the US will be ‘free’ and international calls will be levied at a ‘low rate’, akin to the Google Voice service. If realised, Google’s latest foray into the mobile sphere – dubbed variously ‘Project Fi’ or ‘Nova’ – would introduce fresh uncertainty into a US cellular market already locked in a fierce price war.

It is understood that Google’s new wireless service will initially only work on the company’s latest Nexus 6 smartphones and will run on the networks of Sprint Corp and T-Mobile US, which have agreed to carry the traffic, according to unnamed people familiar with the situation, the WSJ said. Google’s new MVNO offer is also expected to use Wi-Fi networks to route phone calls and data, which could further reduce subscribers’ bills, it adds.