Report: Google’s wireless service will require a Nexus 6 to start



This past week at Mobile World Congress, Google executive Sundar Pichai confirmed that the company was working on a wireless service that would look to leverage WiFi and new technology that could seamlessly transfer you between different carriers’ networks to ensure quality service. There aren’t many early official details at this time, though rumors have suggested Sprint and T-Mobile will be on board in the early going.

The Wall Street Journal says they’ve heard word that there will be one big caveat for wanting to try this service out, though: you’ll need to own a Nexus 6 if you want to play ball. That may seem like a foul stipulation at first, but it makes total sense.

Google isn’t simply becoming an MVNO ala the likes of Republic Wireless or Straight Talk. They’re creating and testing an entirely new cellular technology that simultaneously leverages WiFi and any number of network signals between any number of carriers to help deliver the best call and data experiences.

It’s an ambitious project, but the only way they’re going to be able to accurately judge results is by keeping variables at an absolute minimum. It’ll be important for Google to be able to control the usage environment as tightly as they can in order to ensure everything works as it should. If that means they can only approve one phone for this experiment then that’s what we’ll have to accept. We’re almost 100% certain we’ll hear more about this venture at Google IO, with the Wall Street Journal suggesting it’ll be ready to go “in the coming weeks.”

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Called it, since hopefully it’ll be leveraging gsm and cdma towers simultaneously creating a network that could compete with att and Verizon

    1. I actually own a Nexus and have been eyeing T-Mobile’s $80 unlimited Data plan myself. Rather exciting to think that Google might beat that price.

    2. Better yet have google buy sprint and T-Mobile

    3. Not really. Tmobile and Sprint pretty much cover a lot of the same ground. Neither has the rural coverage Verizon and AT&T have.

  2. now, pay me to break my contract with AT&T and i’ll be the first to go.

  3. I wonder what pricing is going to be. I’m currently on a t-mobile family plan where I’m the primary. I would hate to break it and leave my family high and dry with higher costs all around.

    1. good point actually….I’m guessing it will be priced like their Fiber service. No one can really beat what you receive price-wise. I think i’m more concerned on connectivity, then price.

      1. I’m excited about the dual coverage. You basically get the coverage of t-mobile and sprint which sounds awesome. Imagine if they get all 4 carriers on-board. Sounds similar to that universal SIM that Apple is introducing except this is on a much larger scale. Sounds like a lot of red-tape to overcome of course.

        1. completely agree! not sure why they are not all open to it. I mean, I get it I guess. But Google would have to lease space from their towers, so they would be making money either way. Why not adapt instead of fight the competition?

  4. Awesome! I have a Nexus 6! Oh. I also live where T-Mobile and Sprint do not exist. Not awesome. :/

    1. so what you are saying is….you would essentially have the same connection if you did indeed live near their towers?

      1. Sprint sucks, but T-mobile is great, where they have coverage.

  5. I have one of them yeah me.

  6. Hope the customer service is a little better than having to send and email and then getting an autobot response. Not sure if the existing google call centers can handle the additional support volume.

    1. LoL!! “Autobot”.

  7. That sucks for me. I guess I will have to wait until my phone breaks to change from Tmobile (which I don’t want it to break because I do love my N5 and it is still in near flawless condition)

  8. Thrilled over this. Currently on Sprint, grandfathered unlimited, but I’d switch for this…if it was priced right and had a high data cap or none.

    Love my Nexus 6 even more!

    1. Wait, what? Grandfathered unlimited? Unlimited minutes?

      1. Unlimited minutes and data. The unlimited data is really nothing to write home about as it feels like I only get 56kb dial up modem speeds with Sprint. lol Maybe they will improve that someday.

    2. Google Wireless may not have unlimited data but it might be cheap. Word is that Google is only paying Sprint $2/GB.

  9. They could offer subsidized or lease to own plans for Nexus 6s to entice customers. Not the best idea in the world to just offer the Nexus 6 only since it’s really big for the average consumer.

    1. But it is the only phone they can have full control of the OS and update directly to it.

    2. With the amount of people that goes out and buy the iPhone 6 Plus and Note series, I believe the average consumer *wants* a larger phone. Again, my opinion.

      1. The average consumer is buying cheaper mid-range phones or last year’s flagships at a discount, not expensive high-end phablets.

  10. Sign me and my 6 up

  11. Ahh, that explains why they wanted to make such a big phone, to shove all those radios in there!!

    1. The Nexus 5 has the same amount of radios ;)

      1. If they support Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 then this will work. Not offering a smaller phone will kill any chances for mass adoption.

        1. Who said Google wanted mass adoption?

          1. i did. conversation done. haha jk jk yeah I dont think they are looking for mass appeal here. I think they are doing a dry run and doing what they normally do, using the public for beta testing

          2. I don’t think they do. I think this will likely be an invite only carrier. Most likely they are going to do things to either test the waters for getting fully into the mobile carrier game and end up buying Sprint or T-Mobile or they are going to disrupt the industry to push tech in ways they currently can’t.

  12. So they want to make a service that pushes their services to make other carriers implement such things, but they will only make it available to people who buy an expensive Nexus 6, and thus make it so that so few people have the service, that the major carriers don’t care? A part of me can’t also help but feel that they will be setting a poor precedent making a service that isn’t BYOD, since so many carriers are starting to allow that. If google says locked down is all good, what’s to stop other carriers from taking that as a cue and locking down even more?

    1. There’s things like wifi calling that t-mobile only supports on their approved phones. This will be like that. They don’t let me do wifi calling on my OnePlus One. Inititally, the Nexus 6 will be the only phone that will support their proprietary protocol. Maybe they’ll open source it and add it to Android, but not until it’s working flawlessly and the spec has been defined to the point others can implement it.

      1. The fact that the N6 is supposed to be the first Nexus to get T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi Calling feature this year and the fact that this rumored new service Google is reportedly launching is supposed to leverage Wi-Fi makes me wonder if the two are going to be using the same technology.

  13. Let’s get the party started and announce the service. Maybe they will even sell more Nexus 6 units.

    1. They haven’t had any problem selling N6s thus far. Have they?

      1. Only that they can’t make them fast enough to keep up with the demand.

        1. They can’t make them fast enough or they aren’t making htem fast enough? I imagine they aren’t outselling the 2014 Moto X, and they are able to produce plenty of those. I wonder if they are having trouble keeping up, if there’s a shortage of parts needed to assemble the phones, or if they just stay regulate the flow just enough that people still feel lucky to get to spend $600+ on one.

      2. Do you have the figures? I really don’t know how many they have sold.

      3. Considering it isn’t even showing up as a fraction of a percent in the analytics it must have done poorly.

  14. I suppose only allowing the Nexus 6 could serve to limit adoption while they figure things out. Typical Google. Let’s do something but not do it for everyone.

    1. They need a software platform and environment they control to be able to pull off what they’re trying to pull off. Take off the tin foil hat.

      1. Tin foil hat? No paranoia here. Google does things in 2 ways. Gmail/search where they want and get mass adoption or they do enough to disrupt an industry. That’s all I’m saying. I’m sure Android has taught them that the carriers prevent them from doing everything they would like to do in mobile.

        1. didnt take that as a paranoia comment either….tin hat? hmmm. anyways, its all about getting android to function the way Google intended. I think the carriers have stopped this in a way. or the brands selling android.

  15. Get me a lower priced N6 and I’ll be first in line

  16. Better yet Google should buy Sprint & T-Mobile and keep them under their correct names but change prices and keep the same CEO etc (sprint a google owned company) (T-Mobile a google owned company)

    1. That’s the exact same thing as T-Mobile and Sprint merging

      1. No not really it would get rid of one or the other if the 2 merged but if google bought them and just become the parent company then it would not be the same thing

        1. You’re completely wrong. Google buying both T-Mobile AND Sprint is the exact same thing as one of two buying each other out. It would go through the same government approval process even if they were run as independent divisions.

  17. I’m grandfathered in with T-Mobile so the price and coverage would have to be pretty good for me to jump and that would be a family plan especially if they have unlimited hotspot

  18. “Google isn’t simply becoming an MVNO ala the likes of Republic Wireless
    or Straight Talk. They’re creating and testing an entirely new cellular
    technology that simultaneously leverages WiFi and any number of network
    signals between any number of carriers to help deliver the best call and
    data experiences”

    lumping Republic Wireless in with Straight Talk as a simple MVNO is rather disingenuous – the only expected functional difference between Google’s upcoming network and Republic Wireless is that Google may use more than 1 cell backend… that’s it. Republic already does the cell/wifi arbitration exactly as folks hope google will.

    i’m actually wondering if google won’t simply license the tech from Republic. they already use Republic’s parent company ( for all their Google Voice mojo (including the voip calling features in Hangouts).

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