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Android Headliner: Has Google Chosen The Right Partners To Drive Its MVNO?

April 20, 2015 - Written By Justin Diaz

With the announcement of a Google wireless service many consumers and loyal Google product users are likely getting their wish, for their much loved search and tech company to provide them with a cell service plan to meet their needs. There is still plenty we don’t know about Google’s MVNO though. We have recently seen details which suggest what types of features users might be able to expect from the service once it launches, but we still know nothing of price, nor if Google plans to launch the service nationwide or only in select markets like it has done with it’s home internet service Google Fiber.

Since Google doesn’t own spectrum or the towers for which their service to run off of, it was only natural for them pair up with an existing carrier and run things sort of like an MVNO. The rumors early on stated that T-Mobile and Sprint were to be the chosen networks with which Google would work, and that appears to be more likely even though there has still not been any official confirmation in this particular detail. Are T-Mobile and Sprint the right partners for Google? As the nation’s smallest carriers, it only seems logical to question whether Google has chosen wisely. Consider the fact though that size is not necessarily the most important factor.

With its wireless service plans, the speculation is that calls are to be handled between a mix of WiFi, and networks, with devices switching off to the network who provides the best coverage at any given time. With WiFi seemingly being a huge piece of how calls, data, and messages are handled on Google’s yet unreleased service, and T-Mobile and Sprint both already offering WiFi calling as part of their own services, it makes sense for Google to want to build something around technology that is already existing. Neither T-Mobile nor Sprint may have the largest footprint when it comes to actual coverage, but if Google MVNO service is to work as much off of WiFi as is expected, the network coverage won’t matter as much.

Will Google’s MVNO be able to succeed with Sprint and T-Mobile as partners? There isn’t any reason why they shouldn’t, especially considering some of the more radical changes that Sprint and T-Mobile have been making to their networks, which has influenced the industry of wireless service as a whole, which is more or less the main focus for Google anyway. To show that doing things a little differently is possible. Whether they succeed or not also depends on Google’s own vision for succeeding here. Success in their MVNO might mean giving the industry just enough of a push to foster a shift in other networks changing things up, and not necessarily building up a massive user base, which wouldn’t happen for years to come even if that was their goal. At this point, it may be a little too early to tell if they’ll succeed or not, but T-Mobile and Sprint seem like the most reasonable and logical choices for partners in this venture, if they’re actually working with Google get things up and running.