Google's mobile network to launch this week

April 22, 2015 // 12:26 p.m.

Tags: #advertising #google #mobile-network #mvno #privacy #spring #t-mobile

Google is claimed to be launching its mobile network as early as today, pushing itself still further into the network provision space as it seeks to gather lucrative advertising data on as many users as possible.

Known for its search engine but funded by its all-encompassing advertising work, Google's market strategy is to offer useful free services - search, calendar, text, voice and video chat, email, web analytics, DNS, productivity software, and even entire operating systems - which it then mines for personal information. This information is then used to target adverts to its users, providing value for Google's real customers: advertisers. It's a successful strategy, but one which has an upper limit built-in: what do you do when the entire internet is using your services? Simple: bring more people into the internet.

Google has been pushing numerous network-provision services in the US, from its ultra-fast Google Fibre to the off-the-wall Project Loon which seeks to bring internet access to disconnected areas via balloon-based floating access points. In March, the company confirmed plans to become a mobile network, albeit a small-scale experimental one. At the time, Google's Sundar Pichai claimed that more information would be available in the 'coming months,' but the company has thus far been silent as to its launch plans.

The Wall Street Journal, however, has received wind of the company's plans and claims that Google's mobile network will launch this week - possibly as early as today. The service, the site's sources claim, will run on top of Sprint and T-Mobile networks as an mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and have as its primary differentiating feature the ability to pay solely for the amount of data used - a distinct offering from the buy-a-block-of-data approach adopted by the majority of networks.

As hinted at by Google in March, the system is also expected to allow seamless hand-off between mobile and Wi-Fi-based voice-over-IP (VoIP) chat to cut down on call costs, although full details of how this service will work and the handsets it will support are not yet available.

Google has not commented on the site's claims, but if the WSJ's sources prove accurate fans of the company shouldn't have long to wait to see what the launch will bring.

UPDATE:
As predicted, Google has flipped the switch on Project Fi, with pricing for the by-invitation service starting at $20 a month for unlimited calls and texts and $10 per gigabyte of data, with unused data credited back to the account at the end of the month.
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