Although, last week saw Google take to the stage for their annual android extravaganza that is Google I/O, one of the big Google surprises of the year came a few months ago when the company unveiled one of their latest ventures, as Project Fi. In fact, Project Fi was rumored before it was actually unveiled, but either way, back in April the company finally came clean about Fi and what it entails. In short, Google seemed to confirm their aspirations to enter the mobile provider arena. The announcement came detailing the launch of Project Fi, which would allow Google to operate as an MVNO and piggyback off both T-Mobile and Sprint networks.
However, although the news of Google entering the provider industry was big news, it came with some important caveats which seemed to prematurely curb the excitement of the main news. These caveats included that Project Fi was only in a testing stage and that those interested would need an invite to take part in the service. Furthermore, the service (and the invites) could only be used by owners of a Nexus 6 smartphone. As such, the aspirations of Google as an MVNO became somewhat questionable. Probably much to the relief of Verizon and AT&T.
In terms of the latter, AT&T’s Ralph De La vega does not seem at all phased by Google’s recent moves. In an interview with Forbes this week, De La Vega made it clear that Google’s attempt at entering the carrier industry is one which does not necessarily mean much to the carrier’s yet. According to De La Vega, “It isn’t obvious to us whether this is a noble attempt to have the market do something different or whether they really want to make an investment and have that be one of their core businesses.” However, De La Vega is not dismissing the moves Google is making and does also make it clear that they will be monitoring the situation, as it progresses and unfolds. De La Vega said, “We are going to watch what they’re doing and see how customers react to it.”
As such, although De La Vega is cautious of what Google are doing, for now, it seems he is not too concerned about the Mountain View company’s entrance to the mobile provider market or the competition AT&T could face from such a move. In fact, De La Vega’s comments on Project Fi, were rather reminiscent of comments he made back in March when talking about the competition and threat from the likes of T-Mobile and Sprint. Of course, whether any of the carriers should be worried by recent moves into the industry by Google, does remain to be seen. For now at least.