Google Fiber has shaken up the ISP market in the US, at least in the handful of markets in which it’s offered. So, you may be expecting the company’s forthcoming mobile network offering to do something similar. According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, a big differentiator is that the service will charge users for the data they use rather than for pre-bought data packages.
The WSJ says the service could be launched as soon as later today, working as an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) on top of Sprint and T-Mobile. You’ll need a Nexus 6 to run the service, however.
While US consumers are said to waste money on unused data they pre-bought, charging by the megabyte isn’t exactly new (I bought data like that way back in about 2005, on my first Nokia smartphone), and the appeal of Google’s service could all depend on the pricing.
An additional money-saving opportunity will reportedly come from Google allowing customers to make calls over WiFi instead of cellular networks (a service already offered by some networks). However, again – the appeal of this depends on whether it offers a significantly cheaper service that they currently get elsewhere.
If Google can offer a cheap enough service, it may find customers rushing to buy Nexus 6 devices. However, with the company having to pay Sprint and T-Mobile for network access, it will probably have to offer significant subsidies to consumers in order to be different enough to stand out. Whether Google could make that work long-term remains to be seen.
We’ll be watching closely to see if the Google mobile service does indeed emerge today, and if there’s anything else involved that makes it more ‘Google-y,’ to sweeten the deal.
➤ Google set to unveil wireless service [Wall Street Journal]