Google announced on Monday that it does indeed plan to launch a telecom service.
Rumors had been circulating for over a month that the ad network was negotiating with US mobile carriers lease bandwidth and become an MVNO. Speaking at at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Google’s Sundar Pichai confirmed the rumors and added that this would not be the juggernaut that some had hoped.
Instead, Pichai said that Google's interest stemmed from pushing innovation rather than disrupting the market. The Verge posted a live blog of his talk, and quoted Pichai as saying:
The core of Android is an ecosystem approach with partners, we've always tried to push the boundary of what's next, we do that with hardware and software today (Nexus). For you to drive the next gen, you need to drive both, that's why we do Nexus devices.
It's a very small scale compared to the rest of the OEM industry, but it pushes the needle. I think we're at the stage where we need to think of hardware, software, and connectivity together. Especially with things like watches. We don't intend to be a carrier at scale, and we're working with existing partners. You'll see some of our ideas come to fruit in the next few months.
Well, shoot. I was hoping that we would see a direct benefit of market competition, but in retrospect that was never Google's style.
Google makes smartphones, but they've never tried to corner the market. And they do have a wired internet service, Google Fiber, but it's limited to just a few markets.
And now Google's wireless service service will be similarly limited.
According to the latest rumors, Google has struck deals with Sprint and T-Mobile resell services on their networks. There's no information available on when that is going to happen, however.