If you buy a new smartphone from Google Play in the near future, you will be able to use Google as your new wireless carrier. The company has just ironed out agreements with Sprint and T-Mobile to sell voice and data plans directly to consumers.
Google has been experimenting with internet access with its Fiber program in a very limited capacity and via their Loon project sought to provide free WIFI access in remote places. This new endeavor is positioning Google to become a top tier wireless carrier in the US.
Currently, there are four major carriers in the United States: T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon, and while T-Mobile has made efforts to shake up the wireless industry with its Un-Carrier initiatives, wireless service in the United States remains much pricier than in other countries, with subscribers getting less data for more money. The thought behind the Google branded service is to be able to directly bundle their data enabled phones at a discounted rate if you buy them from Google Play.
Google will not actually be competing against these big players but has engaged in a licensing program. They will be quite similar to other players in this sector, including Boost Mobile, FreedomPop, and Straight Talk.
The Wall Street Journal has verified this rumor, writing “Google hinted at its wireless ambitions in a letter to the FCC last week, which said higher-frequency spectrum might be used for ‘the next generation of unlicensed broadband services,’ including complements to Wi-Fi networks, ‘or entirely new technologies and innovations.’ ”
It remains to be seen how the Google wireless plans unfold in the real world. We don’t have an actual date or in what capacity users will be able to signup. It looks dubious if Apple will include them as a carrier option to opt into for unlocked iPads and iPhones. Many industry experts seem to agree that the best strategy is to sign up customers who buy Google branded devices, such as the Nexus Phone or Nexus tablet for data.