Could Google Inc. launch the next big mobile network? Verizon Communications Inc.'s Chief Financial Officer Francis Shammo doesn’t think so. Commenting on reports of the tech giant’s plans to enter the wireless space by establishing a mobile virtual network operator, Shammo said during the carrier’s fourth-quarter conference call on Thursday that Google would be “just another competitor” in the market.
Google’s endeavor, codenamed “Nova,” hasn't yet been announced, but the Information reported Wednesday that the tech giant would work with Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc., using their bandwidth to provide consumers with low-cost voice, texting and data plans. Other MVNOs include Boost Mobile, FreedomPop and Virgin Mobile, which similarly offer cheaper rates than the major mobile networks.
Some analysts say Google establishing its own mobile service could propel competition and innovation among more seasoned network operators. Others say Google’s aim isn’t to provide consumers with more options, but to increase its own influence on the Web.
“If you look at Google, they’ve entered fiber, they’ve done other initiatives. Their whole purpose is to increase speeds so that people can do more search,” Shammo said. “This is another example of where Google’s going to enter the market under a platform basis to do what they want to do.”
Google will face unfamiliar hurdles, such as having to deal directly with consumers, something it hasn't done much of previously, he said.
Longtime Google executive Nick Fox, who intended the service to launch last fall, heads "Nova," The Information noted. There's no word on when Google will announce its MVNO.