Google is already known for search, but now they have entered the mobile carrier business. Can they replicate the success that they have had providing the best results for web surfers, or will this be another failed google project? It will be interesting to see. The existing mobile phone market can always do with some competition to drive down prices and increase variety.
The approach that Google will use to create its network is unique. They plan to rent data and voice capacity from 2 existing mobile carriers, T-Mobile and Sprint. The next part of their mobile domination approach is to use already existing Wi-Fi networks and hotspots instead of building new infrastructure from the ground up. They have called it Project Fi, and initially it will only be offered to Nexus 6 handset owners. Its this pioneering logistics that has already seen Google’s ultra fast Fiber broadband service creating a disruption in the US telecoms and internet market. Its been acclaimed as the driving force behind pushing Time Warner Cable and Comcast broadband speed limits up, without increasing their prices to customers.
A Viable Solution?
With Google’s Fiber rollout, they bought infrastructure direct from companies that had business collapses. They also started to lay their own fibre optic cables. This gives them full control over their broadband network. The approach they are taking to their mobile network is in contrast giving away control, by relying on rivals infrastructure. Some communication industry experts have claimed this will limit the impact that Project Fi has. By using mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) its hard to change the inner workings of the industry. However if there is a company that can change the industry it will be Google. How easy will it be to roll out to other countries like the UK? Well there are a number of existing MVNO’s that they can team up with including GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile, and Virgin Mobile.
The way the network will work is by switching user between the 4G signals of the service providers T-Mobile and Sprint, depending which one has the strongest service in that location. You will also be able to make calls via the Wi-Fi networks without having to use a dedicated app to do it. This is a similar approach to the Wi-Fi calling feature that was introduced in the UK by mobile network EE. Google hopes that as you go about your daily business, Project Fi will automatically connect you to various hot spots, where there are a million free and open Wi-Fi hotspots available and have been verified by Google as fast and reliable. Once you’re connected to one of these Wi-Fi networks, your data will be secured through encryption.
Customers who use the new Google service will only be billed for the actual amount of data they use, instead of having an allowance that just resets at the end of every month. The charges for the network have already been worked out, with customers proposed to pay $20 as a monthly fee for unlimited calls and texts, and then an extra $10 for data access and this includes abroad as well as in the US. This could easily drive down costs of excessive roaming charges. For every gigabyte of data that you use after that you will also be charged $10, however if you fail to use all of your data from your band, you will be given a refund. Some commentators have said that its this cost friendly approach that will encourage an accelerated customer case joining up with the network. Google is currently just dipping its toes into the water, but if it wants to go any further if its proven to be a success then an acquisition will be on the cards. It will be difficult for Google to to build its own network from scratch.
Nexus 6 Usage
The Nexus 6 manufactured by motorola, is the only mobile phone that will be supported with the service to start with. It will require a new sim card, but the phone itself has been designed with a cellular radio that would work across a wide range of 4G networks, not only in the US but overseas. Since the phone’s battery power will be drained each time it changes network Google has said it will only move customers when it was completely necessary. When asked if they would be rolling out the service to other phone, they confirmed that they had no plans to do so, and would be limiting the uptake by making the service invite only to begin with.