Friday, September 23, 2011

Is Google Going To Start Offering Cellular Service?

 

We came across a rather peculiar news piece today: a proper evidence-backed report which suggests that Google Inc. just might start their own wireless telecommunication network, in Spain.




The news comes from Phandroid – a blog dedicated to covering all things Android. They cite a Spanish website Xataka Android which apparently spotted a Google-branded SIM Card. A handful of photos of the SIM card were taken (which we’ve embedded below). The card was later popped into a Google Nexus S unit and, adding to the apparent authenticity of the whole thing, shows the carrier branding to be Google_Es.
From Phandroid:
An interesting rumor has come out of Spanish site Xataka Android. Apparently, Google-branded SIM cards have been spotted and tested on the Nexus S The rumor suggests Google will look to either Pepephone or Simyo to help them become an actual carrier. On the photo below, you can see the carrier branding is “Google_Es”.In today’s world, just about anything can be faked, so until things are official, we suggest you take this rumor with a pinch of salt. Apps exist which can change the carrier branding to any text you like and, if you know what you’re doing, getting a Google-branded SIM card manufactured isn’t all that hard either.


Still, it sounds somewhat plausible to us. Yes, it is a bit of a stretch, but we’ve learned not to underestimate Google. If any company can pull this off, it is Google.



It seems like anytime a wireless carrier is going up for sale, or some new spectrum lands on the auction block, pundits start insisting that Google should step up and get itself into cellular networking. There's some new evidence, though, that the company might be actually following-through on something along those lines, with the discovery of a Google-branded SIM.

The card in question seems to have come from Spain, where it's reported that Google engineers have been using these SIMs in combination with Nexus S phones. When inserted, the cards identify the carrier as Google_Es. Just what is Google up to here?

The most sensible explanation would be that Google is testing out plans to act as an MVNO and piggyback its services on the network of an existing carrier. While this Google SIM is a fascinating find (assuming it's legitimate), it raises a whole bunch of new questions. If Google is to start acting as a carrier, how would it brand the offering? Google Voice would be the obvious product to tie it to. We also wonder if Google is considering a similar service in the US, or if it only has its sights on Europe for the moment. 


Thoughts? Would you switch to Google’s own cellular service if it turns out to be real? Let us known in our comments section on Facebook!
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Source: Xatak Android
Via: Phandroid