Google will reportedly launch their own wireless service this year


cell tower

After what seems like years of rumors and speculation, the oft hit-or-miss publication The Information is now reporting from several sources close to the matter that Google is gearing up to launch their own wireless service later this year. Codenamed “Nova,” the service — which will run on a combination of T-mobile and Sprint towers — will see Google acting as an MVNO, similar to StraightTalk, Simple Mobile, and other competing prepaid wireless services.

The project is being lead by Google exec Nick Fox and will see Google directly selling mobile phone plans to customers, managing all of their calls and mobile data the same way any other MVNO wold. Originally, it was scheduled to go live in the fall and even has some Googlers already testing the service over in Mountain View.

Although on the surface, it sounds great having a Google sanctioned wireless service (hopefully with huge data caps), the current state of their customer service has us wary. Also, if Google does have plans to enter into the wireless market, they’re going to need another affordable off-contract Nexus device (we’re still holding out hope for a Nexus 5 2015).

What do you guys think? Would you like to sign up with Google Wireless?

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Raise your hand who will be the first one in line!!!

    1. Ugh. Sprint and T-Mobile don’t exist here in my area. I’d have to pass sadly. For that matter, being in a Sprint only area would make me pass too. Sprint is near horrible.

  2. The problem is that they are not creating their own network. Sprint’s network is abysmal and plagued with issues with the nexus 6.

  3. MVNO is surely a “first step” for them. Can’t eat the entire elephant in one bite…

    I don’t think they’ll come close to turning the industry on its ear as a MVNO, but a foot in the door- even in this capacity- can’t hurt.

    1. If Google can get good “wholesale” rates from Sprint and T-Mobile, basically turning those two carriers into the dumb pipes they can be, then what would be the advantage of Google going from MVNO to MNO?

      As long as Sprint and T-Mobile are incentivized to increase their physical network investment, then the overall system will be hitting on all cylinders.

      Carriers are being commoditized here.

  4. > the current state of their customer service has us wary

    Perhaps their developer CS is junk, but I very recently had an billing issue as a consumer. I filled out the form and was very quickly called by a Rep at my convenience and the question was answered.

    Reports of Google having Comcast-level CS is based on fables and FUD.

    1. Fully agree. The few times I’ve called Google Play CS and Google Glass CS, I had the best experience I could have hoped for, completely resolving my issues and following up with me later to confirm.

      1. Then why is it being said in an article by a fellow staff member that El Goog’s CS leaves something to be desired? I personally have delt with them on more than 1 occasion & never once had the slightest of issues. The only thing I’ve ever had a complaint about was the whole ordering system from google play(ie. Nexus 6, Nexus 10, Nexus 5, etc.). Not intending on spewing rhetoric towards anyone but seriously have a lil more responsibility/objectivity in what you publish for others to read.

        1. Perhaps Chirs has not had a good experience with Google CS? Derek didn’t write the article. My perception of Google’s CS is based off of the Nexus 7 launch in ’12. I had no issues, but a lot of people did and it was written about. Their CS has probably improved a lot, but perceptions are not easily changed.

          1. I know Chris wrote this article but when in the writing he inserts the use of “Us(Phandroid Team)” things can get misconstrued very easily. & as a writer objective views usually are what works best but as I’ve frequently seen Mr Chavez doesn’t adhere to that & interjects his Biased Opinions of which I can agree with on most occasions, this one I can’t. The Nexus 7 fiasco has left a soured view for many, that I can agree upon too but lets not jump too far on the ledge till we’ve confirmed this “Rumor” to be true & Google’s CS crumbles during the intial start-up. Again just sayin’ is all.

        2. Because Phandroid’s partner website’s app got de-listed and they’ve been on a crusade.

          Apparently “Developer CS is junk” == “All Google CS is junk”

        3. Everyone has their own experiences and uses that to form their own opinion. I’ve never had an issue and can say that from my experience, it’s top notch. I assume whoever said that had a bad experience or was told of one and formed their opinion from that.

  5. Man I got so excited about this until I read the word “Sprint.”

    1. I’m on Sprint, am looking forward to it (and already get up to 60Mbps).

      1. Wow, I never heard of Sprint putting out those sorts of speeds. Where do you live? What smartphone are you using?

  6. They had me pulling out my wallet till I read Sprint and TMO… No Service from either in my area. And when I lived in an area with Sprint it was crap… Get Verizon and AT&T towers into the fold and I am jumping ship.

  7. Combination is the key word for now but coverage would have to drastically improve for both of these companies. I have higher hopes for TMobile but I can’t say the same for Sprint unless they can really put their spectrum to good use.

  8. I’ve been hearing this rumor for years. I don’t see the Feds allowing this to happen because of obvious reasons.

    1. If the government allowed the Comcast-NBC merger to happen, then why not a Google Wireless service? Google isn’t even close to a monopoly in the way Comcast is.

      It is all a question of greasing the right palms or leaving some of the dirty stuff involving a government bigwig in an envelope on the said bigwig’s front door.

      1. The problem is that Verizon and AT&T will push it to get shut down, think about it . Google provides search and services as well as products (phones and tablets), as well as a complete OS, it would be looked at as an unfair advantage to all carriers.

        1. Nothing to shut down. They are talking about becoming an MVNO, not an actual carrier.

          1. Same thing, just no towers

          2. They’d have to shut down Sprint and T-Mo to shut down Google.

          3. They have nothing to do with it, they’re merely landlords of the infrastructure, allowing Google to rent their towers, but since you mentioned it Verizon could also say that they are getting preferential treatment, because of an inside deal. Point is there are too many ifs.

          4. Unless they have evidence of illegality in the deals between Google and Sprint and T-Mo, there’s no legal reason for stopping them. I seriously doubt Verizon would want to lease to Google anyways, they’ve always been hostile towards Google.

            You’ve shown no legal reason for the government to do anything, only wild speculation. Frankly, I can’t see AT&T or Verizon caring about another MVNO, and the government would only be involved if something illegal was going on.

    2. I could see the feds stepping in if they were building their own network, but they’re just talking about being an MVNO, I can’t see the fed caring about that (or finding any reasonable justification for stopping it).

      1. The Feds like competition and this will bring it. And it helps the troubled 3/4 carriers. Doubt the feds will challenge this.

  9. Why are they called Sprint if they’re always last in data speeds?

    1. Because this race is a marathon, not a sprint, so they peter out.

      1. I’m in a mostly completed Sprint Spark area and get up to 60Mbps. The problem is there is still too much 3G out there and it drags down results. They also need to get 800LTE more broadly rolled out more, which fills in the gaps (and keeps people off 3G).

        1. That’s good for you, but, not for everyone. Some people I know on Sprint Spark in NY get less than 1 Mbps.

          1. Yeah, agree they need to get 800/2500 everywhere, just saying they can be good when in a completed Spark area. Spark rollout won’t complete till end of 2015.

          2. yeah I left NY Sprint in 2013 for Tmobile. It took them like 4 years to cover NY in as much LTE as it took Tmobile 6 months to do.

  10. NEXT WEEK: Verizon and AT&T block Google’s Wireless service nationwide. Rallys with state governments with bribe money to ban them from establishing services in obviously monopolized areas

    If it’s true, and they’re going out on their own, it’s going to be like fucking Fiber all over again.

    Why the hell are their “featured” comments by Phandroid?

  11. If they don’t offer tmobiles free international coverage it won’t be considered by me.

  12. Google Fiber, Google Nova.. not in my area any time soon, but I love to see the competition to cable companies and service providers. Surely scares the shizz out of them both and they will do all that they can to kill it as they no likey that the competition points out that others can do it better and cheaper and without the nonsense the industry tries to act like is “normal and acceptable”.

  13. Id sign up immediately. Im sure this is just a first step, cant wait till they launch their own network. Call it what you will, a monopoly, etc. Sure lots will want to switch, but just as many (iphone,etc,users) will not.

  14. Have Google Fiber and must say their phone customer service is pretty good, much better than others. The reps actually have problem solving skills and able to do deductive reasoning, instead of reading scripts.

    As a Sprint and GF user, I may switch but only if they keep unlimited data.

  15. Hope this doesn’t cause VZW and AT&T to retaliate with poor phone choices.

    1. Why would they? They haven’t changed a thing as other MNVO’s (such as StraightTalk) have come along, why would this one be different? And reducing their phone choices would only be shooting themselves in the foot.

      1. Do either VZW or ATT have phones on their network with operating systems and applications created by StraightTalk?

        1. What does that matter? Why would VZW and/or ATT cut their phone lineup over this, only ensuring customers would leave them? Why should they care if Google becomes an MVNO? All an MVNO does is lease service from a carrier and resell it to customers. They aren’t building their own network, at least not at this point. If Google did someday try to become an actual carrier, then it would certainly piss off VZW and AT&T.

    2. Do you mean Apple…?

  16. I’m on Sprint as well. My wireless speeds are faster than my home wireless. I get about 30 Mbps down on average. Don’t say Sprint is terrible. It’s not.

    1. Yeah, they are good in completed Spark areas but the problem is they don’t have enough completed Spark areas yet. Works great for me though. Sprint not worth moving to until maybe end of this year when complete but at least with Google service, you can get TMO as well.

      1. even in an area like where i am that won’t officially have spark for the foreseeable future (LTE was only finally announced last summer) i still have gotten up to around 54mb (rather crazy i think) for download

  17. Sprint and T-Mobile suck here. If they used Verizon’s or their own I would totally jump on board.

  18. Without a doubt, especially if it were competitive with the likes of straight talk etc.

  19. A Google MVNO combining the best parts of T-Mobile and Sprint?

    If they can beat T-Mobile’s $30 prepaid plan, I’m in….. as long as the phone&OS is smart enough to use the better network (t-mobile), and not just the cheapest.

  20. I’m in…

  21. Data caps on everything not google lol
    Buy youself an unlimited YouTube plan or unlimited drive plan or hangout plan.

  22. I’m confused. First you say it will be wireless service, which implies service, then you say it will be on T-Mobile’s and Sprint’s networks. Which one is it?

    1. It will be a prepaid service where you could use simcards that piggy back off of Tmobile and Sprint towers.

  23. Interesting. I’d give them a shot. Everything is online nowadays and I hardly ever call VZW customer service, but then again, I’m on Vzw, so it would be a downgrade in service either way…but most definitely a downgrade in monthly $, so maybe worth it.

  24. I think in 3-5 years, Google will be a force to be reckoned with. I cant wait to see what happens!!!!

  25. Google has no clue when it comes to supporting customers with real people. Their service would need to be close to free for me to bite.

  26. Both? Like combining their LTE?

  27. I kinda wonder what the agreement would be… With all the dark fiber Google bought over the years, plus the Google Fiber infrastructure in 3 cities, I wonder if a Backhaul for Tower trade is part of the deal?

  28. We so desperately need it here in Canada it’s not even funny.

  29. I’m pretty sure Google will have competitive prices with the major carriers.
    If they let me keep my Google Voice number and my carrier number; I’m in.

  30. Its interesting hearing the opinion of those who have had negative Google customer service interactions. I have Google Fiber and recently I had to go online and chat with a Fiber rep to ask for a payment extension since my school loans (income) had not arrived yet. At the end of my conversation they granted my 5 day extension and she even told me that they appreciate my time and effort in going to school and good luck with my studies. It took me back because I’ve never had a customer service rep be so personable and appreciative. I hope that if Google does break into the carrier business that they duplicate this customer service model!

  31. Any competition is good. Surely Google will have the best of pricing to get into the market.

  32. I dream of a mvno that operates on all four carriers networks and allows a user’s phone to jump back and forth between all towers compatible with the device.

  33. Looks like you guys just may have more money than sense, and that’s OK for you. I need to know what it’s going to cost. I got the best deal and CS with T-Mobile: $30 a month for 5 GB of data and 100 minutes of talk or texts. If they give the same or better pricing, I’ll join.

  34. I would like to know if this mean I will finally be able to port my Alaska number to Google voice.

  35. What will happen if I have cable works outside my house though =/

  36. I’ll be with T-Mobile for the foreseeable future. They’ve been serving me well in Tempe, Arizona.

  37. I wonder what the price points will be. Maybe $45 for unlimited everything.

  38. I wish they would just buy both companies. Let’s face it, both of them spend more on advertising than on system upgrades/network expansion. If Google owned them they wouldn’t need to advertise nearly as much. Charge me $30 for 6 gigs of 4G and $5 for unlimited voice and text and call it a day. Goodbye AT&T Hello Googs Wireless. 4 new Nexus 5’s please. Thank you and have a nice day.

  39. “(hopefully with huge data caps)”
    Why settle for that? How about NO data caps at all.

    1. No caps makes sense for google. More people online means more ad money for google. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t unlimited

  40. Their definitely going to have to come up with an affordable phone to sell on their own unless they will just allow unlocked phones only instead of making their plans. Currently the nexus 6 is not as affordable as some phones.

  41. 2 nano simcards please.

    i just scrolled down and was really amused at the silly nitpicking for being reluctant to try the service.

    it’s really simple boys and girls, try it out and then reject it, don’t let posters on a blog determine what you use or not use.

    in september 2008 i got my G-1 and have never looked back.

    google is like ACME is to wiley coyote, except google stuff works.

  42. I’ll switch if they offer high end Windows Phones.

  43. Would I switch? Depends on what they have to offer, and at what cost. It’d be nice if they offered unlimited talk, text & LTE (no data caps) for $50, and a huge discount on their Nexus phones!

  44. Originally planned for Fall of 2014 or 2015?

  45. my Nexus 5 is salivating. I hope this is synergistic and the cash from Google will allow sprint and tmobile to both upgrade and expand their systems on a more timely basis.

  46. Knowing Google it will be unlimited data since getting people online means more money for Google and it will be surprisingly cheap

  47. Any service based on Sprint towers is doomed to fail.

  48. So they’re effectively making another Ting?

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