Google has announced its plans to launch a wireless service of its own, addressing increased speculation over the past few months that Google would enter the wireless business.
The service will be a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO, meaning that Google will "rent" access to networks from companies like Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. But what exactly are Google's goals with this experiment?
It's important to note that, at least at this point, it seems as though Google has no intention of taking on the likes of Verizon and AT&T. In fact, as mentioned, Google will be renting service from these companies, essentially giving them business.
Instead, what Google seems to want to do is to use its mobile network to push innovation in the wireless industry.
"We don't intend to be a network operator at scale," said Google senior vice president for products. "We are working with carrier partners. You'll see our answer in coming months. Our goal is to drive a set of innovations we think should arrive, but do it a smaller scale, like Nexus devices, so people will see what we're doing."
Google likening its new service to the Nexus line of smartphones is very indicative of what the mobile service could end up looking like. Nexus devices don't sell as well as flagships from companies like Samsung or HTC, but they do offer users a device running "stock" Android, or Android as it is made to be by Google. In contrast, other companies like Samsung take Android and modify it for their own purposes, such as to drive services like Samsung's Milk Music.
A Google-run wireless service could still very much shake up the wireless industry, however.
An example of what Google could do in the wireless industry is shown through Google Fiber, the company's super fast Internet service that offers gigabit Internet to a few select cities for relatively cheap. While the service is only in a few areas, it has forced other Internet service providers to cut prices and offer faster Internet, especially because of the sheer speed of Google's offering.
It is likely that a Google-run MVNO would see a lot of experimentation with models for different plans, as well as change the traditional model of users paying for monthly allotments of data or service.
Only time will tell what Google's MVNO will actually look like, with the company set to make more related announcements in the next few months.
Photo Credit: Google