Google may be moving into the wireless carrier arena a little sooner than you might have expected. The company reportedly plans to take the wraps off project Nova at the end of this month. When the service launches, it will support only one phone according to The Wall Street Journal: Google’s own Nexus 6.
What makes Google’s service interesting is that it will switch between wireless networks and Wi-Fi hotspots, depending on which can provide better service to the user at the moment. The Wi-Fi/carrier switching is meant to make for both better data transfer and higher-quality calls. Because Google is operating as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), it’s relying on established carriers to provide service. In this case, those carriers are Sprint and T-Mobile.
Google is taking a page out of Apple’s playbook by sticking with its “own” hardware (the Nexus 6 is made by Motorola Mobility). Having control over the hardware and software is bound to be important as Google gets this complicated service off the ground. But if the wireless service is to succeed, it will eventually need to move past the Nexus 6 to other phones, where Google will have less control.
If Google’s wireless service becomes popular, it will be interesting to see whether larger carriers follow its lead – and what kind of burden that puts on Wi-Fi hotspots.