Google to launch an MVNO in the US

Dylan Bushell-Embling
telecomasia.net

Google has confirmed it is dipping a toe into the mobile communications market, with plans to launch an MVNO in the US using Sprint's and T-Mobile USA's networks.

The internet giant's new Project Fi will serve as a testbed for new hardware, software and connectivity solutions based on aspects of the wireless experience.

Google said Project Fi has been designed to automatically connect to the best network available from a particular location, be it a Wi-Fi hotspot or specific LTE network.

Handsets will automatically connect to around 1 million verified free, open Wi-Fi hotspots. When outside the range of Wi-Fi, the handset will connect to whichever partner network is delivering the fastest LTE speed at that time.

Users will be able to call and text while connected to Wi-Fi networks, and calls will seamlessly transition onto cellular networks when exiting an area of i-Fi coverage.

Google will offer the service for $20 per month for calls, text, Wi-Fi tethering and international coverage, plus an additional $10 per GB for data in the US and while roaming overseas.

Project Fi will initially be available on the Nexus 6 smartphone, which was developed by Google in conjunction with Motorola. Google is launching an early access program to allow users to sign up for the service ahead of the launch.

Google has been rumored to be planning an MVNO foray for some time. Analysts are divided over the company's chances of success with the venture, with some believing that the project will prove beyond Google's technical and customer service expertise.

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