The world’s leading search engine company has just announced that it would be entering the wireless service, most likely raising the risk of new tensions between the tech giant and carriers already supporting the Android OS.
According to SundarPichai, Google Products senior in command, this will represent a small-scale endeavor meant to provide an improved service for the company’scustomers. Discussions were already underway between Google and major wireless carriers, Pichai mentioned, noting that the company was aiming to provide a “hybrid wireless service” in collaboration with current providers.
The announcement was made in Barcelona, at the Mobile World Congress on March 2nd, where Pichai confirmed that mobile users would be able to request such services later this year. The company’s approach to the matter would much resemble Google’s way of handling the Nexus program. Pichai explained that, just as Nexus had not been a rival to his merchant partners, Google only entered the collaboration as a way of investing in hardware and software. As a result, the search engine giant would attempt to enter this Wi-Fi service in a similar manner.
As a result, Google will become a MVNO (mobile virtual network operator), which basically purchases the wireless service from an established provider and rebrands the service for its users.
“We do not plan to be considered a network operator at scale,” Pichai noted during his speech at the Mobile World Congress. “Our objective is to always drive some developments we believe should show up, however do it on a smaller scale, such as Nexus applications, so customers will be able to observe exactly what we are doing.”
According to previous reports on Google’s intentions of entering the wireless business, the company aimed to lower prices while also working on improving the customer’s experience, and as Pichai noted during his Barcelona speech, the rumors weren’t far off. Pichai believes that companies such as Google should begin looking at the bigger picture, thinking of hardware, software and connectivity as a whole.
And despite reiterating that its purpose is that of improving user experience, Google does have the potential of disrupting the mobile industry. Currently, Android is by far the market leader, holding close to 82 percent of the smartphone OS market. Apple, for instance, owns only 14.3 percent, Windows Phone 2.7 and BlackBerry a mere .4 percent.
Pichai underlined that Google only wishes to provide a backbone for connectivity, so that carriers would be able to provide their services. As a result, the company wouldn’t be focusing on an infrastructure of their own. Instead, they would create a “virtual network”, enabling Android users to effortlessly switch between Wi-Fi and cell service as well as switching between the services of major phone network to ensure the maximum coverage and best signals.
“Carriers in the U.S. are what powers most of our Android phones, and that model works really well for us,”