We’ve been hearing a lot about Google’s wireless service during the past few months. And now, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, we’re set to hear even more about the Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) service starting tomorrow.
Google will reportedly push its service, which was developed under the codename Nova and more recently branded Project Fi, “as early as Wednesday” according to the WSJ. As we reported earlier this month, Project Fi will only charge customers for the data they use. If a customer purchases a 4GB allotment of data for a given billing cycle and only uses 2GB, he or she would receive a refund for the unused data at the end of the month.
Google Fi is expected to work on America’s third and fourth place carrier networks: Sprint and T-Mobile. Neither carrier has sufficient national coverage to really play with the big boys — AT&T and Verizon — but Project Fi’s connection scheme may help to alleviate this downside. It is reported that not only will smartphones that operate on Project Fi be able to make and receive calls while on a Wi-Fi network, but they will also be able to seamlessly handoff the call to a cellular network when out of Wi-Fi range. While this is not exactly an unheard of feature with wireless carrier these days, Google Fi will also be able to handoff calls and data from a Sprint tower to a T-Mobile tower and vice versa based on signal strength. This should help to fill in some gaps when it comes to phone and data coverage.
Google Nexus 6
As intriguing as Project Fi sounds right now, access to the service will be extremely limited at launch if previous reports are any indication. The MVNO service will supposedly only work on Nexus 6 smartphones.
Project Fi is all about “[pushing] the boundary of what's next” said Sundar Pichai, Google SVP of Android, Chrome, and Google Apps, while speaking at last month’s Mobile World Congress. “It's a very small scale compared to the rest of the OEM industry, but it pushes the needle,” Pichai continued. “I think we're at the stage where we need to think of hardware, software, and connectivity together.”
Project Fi definitely sounds like an interesting concept, and we can’t wait to hear more about the service tomorrow (or whenever Google gets around to officially announcing it).