Google May Be Your Next Wireless Provider

What part of your tech life doesn't Google want to own? While the search giant already has master-of-the-universe ambitions in Internet service (Google Fiber), operating systems (Android and Chrome), geo services (Google Earth) and even space (through this week's $1 billion investment in SpaceX), it's apparently looking for even greater influence in mobile communications by becoming a cellphone service provider.

According to a report Wednesday in The Information, Google plans to begin selling mobile phone service through reseller access to the cellular networks of Sprint and T-Mobile. The service could come into operation this year.

As a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), Google would function much as other services like Credo Mobile, StraightTalk and TracFone. This would enable the company to develop yet another network of customers -- and give it access to another valuable stream of customer data -- without having to actually build the required infrastructure.

'Improve the Experience'

Gathering new data on mobile customer usage from the perspective of a cellular service provider would certainly help Google gain even more potentially profitable insights into its users' habits. It could also help put more competitive pressure on other carriers in the mobile industry.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Google's entry into the mobile phone service business would be "likely to prod the wireless industry to cut prices and improve speeds." While Sprint and T-Mobile are not the largest carriers in the industry -- they're in third and fourth place, behind Verizon Wireless and AT&T -- a service that combines those two companies' networks into one could definitely have a noticeable impact on the market.

Google's MVNO ambitions, reportedly codenamed "Nova," would serve as an experiment to encourage other carriers to "improve the experience" for their customers, according to "people with knowledge of the plans," The Information reported. Said to...

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