“Nova” could be Google’s first step into becoming a mobile network operator
Google could be making its first serious move into the mobile operator space as rumors suggest it’s looking to launch a new project known only as “Nova”.
According to The Information, Google Nova is taking shape thanks to negotiations with US network operators Sprint and T-Mobile.
The ideas is to make Nova a Mobile Virtual Network Operator using either Sprint or T-Mobile’s infrastructure – thus reducing Google’s costs.
By becoming a MVNO, Google would join the likes of US network FreedomPop, or UK network GiffGaff, Allowing Google to run its services off a more established network and subsidising the cost of the Nexus range of phones.
Phonecalls would, according to Android Police, take place through Google’s Hangouts app. This would handle calls and texts across Google’s data-only network.
The experience would be equivalent to a standard phonecall except, instead of utilising a phone network plan, Nova would offer unlimited mobile data and allow calls over WiFi too.
There’s currently no concrete information in regards to how Nova will actually roll out across the US. But, like many Google projects, we can expect it to have a small regional trial before going national – and hopefully international.
Why is Google looking to start a mobile network?
Rumors surrounding a possible mobile network from Google have been around for years, practically since it launched the first Nexus device in 2010. Until now, we’ve never had rumors that sounded like credible approaches.
For Google, operating a mobile network has many advantages. The most noteworthy being Google’s ability to reduce the cost of its Nexus devices further, and push out Android updates as soon as possible.
As pointed out by Android Police, Google also no longer needs to worry about annoying carriers who could block device updates or stop stocking Android devices. Currently Google dominates the mobile device market, whereas 5 years ago it had but a fraction of it, so to block Google on any of those fronts would only serve to anger customers using Android phones.
There are some other, slightly unnerving, motives too.
As is the case with Google Fiber, by having a mobile network Google could see what you’re up to and offer tailored experiences leading to increased revenue in other areas. For Google it’s all about maximising the value of each user.
But, if Google Nova does provide revenue through data, you could imagine it being a comparatively cheap network to be a part of.