Google plans to sell mobile subscriptions direct to end-users via MVNO arrangements it is negotiating with US operators T-Mobile US and Sprint, according to The Information.
According to sources, Google will buy wholesale voice and data capacity on the two operators’ networks. The project is codenamed “Nova” and led by longstanding Google executive Nick Fox.
A launch this year is supposedly on the cards, although Fox actually was originally pushing for a launch last autumn. The service has been tested internally.
The report also suggests Google wants to get creative with mobile pricing, possibly through the use of communications apps.
It is unclear from the report why the search giant would choose the current moment to embark on such an initiative. On various occasions — and in various markets — a move by Google into becoming an MVNO has been mooted. They go back at least as far as 2007, even before the launch of Android.
Of course Google already sells its own brand Nexus devices direct to end-users. Beyond selling devices, an MVNO has customer service obligations with its subscribers, not an area in which the search giant has much experience.