Speculation about Google’s wireless service ambitions has been going on for a while. During his Mobile World Congress speech today, Google’s Senior Vice President and Android chief Sundar Pichai finally confirmed the long-standing rumors, but noted it would be a relatively small scale undertaking with the goal of bringing a set of innovations to the wireless industry.
Pichai compared the approach to what their Nexus initiative set out to do for Android devices, showing a better way of doing things but still focusing on an ecosystem approach with strong partnerships.
He didn't go into many details during his address in Barcelona, but mentioned they are working with “carrier partners” and will share more in the coming months. The current plan appears to be to operate a network in the form of an MVNO, piggybacking on infrastructure from existing carrier heavyweights. Among the innovations mentioned by Pichai are making cellular and Wi-Fi seamless, and automatically reconnecting dropped calls.
There was no mention of any specific carrier partners but previous reports suggest Google has been speaking with Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.
Google is no stranger to the network side of business. Aside from launching a commercially available high-speed Internet service called Fiber, which is slowly expanding to more cities in the U.S., the company is also experimenting with stratospheric balloons as well as super lightweight solar-powered drones to beam down Internet access in remote areas of the world.