Google has plans to go beyond making the operating system for your smartphone and now wants to offer its own cell service, too. The Internet search giant said it plans to make an announcement in the coming months, and that it doesn't plan to compete with the current crop of cell service providers.
Google wants in on the cell service provider game
Instead of building its service from the ground up, Google plans to be a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO, according to PC World. Operating as an MVNO will let Google piggyback on current carrier networks without having to create its own physical infrastructure.
Google made the announcement on Monday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Google senior vice president Sundar Pichai said the company plans to offer its cell service as a way to experiment with new Android smartphone features. He said,
We've always tried to push the boundary of what's next in hardware and software, and we do that with the Nexus devices today. We want to be able to experiment along those lines.
For carriers like AT&T and Verizon, that probably isn't coming as any consolation because the experimenting Google is likely to do could include changing how customers pay for their wireless data plan. Instead of charging a flat fee for data regardless of whether or not it's used, Google may offer plans where customers pay only for the data they actually use.
In other words, Google's MVNO service could serve as a catalyst for other carriers to offer more attractive plans. We're already seeing some of that thanks to the agressive plans T-Mobile has been offering, and now Google may help push that even more.
Google hasn't narrowed down its time frame yet, so the carriers it says it won't be competing with still have some time to wonder exactly what the company has up its sleeve.