Mobile World Congress: Google Confirms US Mobile Network Plan

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Following weeks of rumors, Google confirmed at the 2015 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday that it plans to offer talk and data plans in a US wireless service that’s now in development, using Google Fiber and Wi-Fi technologies.

When it comes to Google, of course, small doesn’t usually stay small for long. The brand plans to become a wireless carrier by launching a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), meaning it could buy access from “Sprint and T-Mobile networks and then sell cellular plans to its own customers,” Sundar Pichai, Google’s SVP of Android, Chrome and Apps, told MWC attendees.

The goal, he added, isn’t to compete against telecom incumbents such as AT&T or Verizon. [more]

As the Guardian notes, “Subscribers of Google’s ‘virtual network’ will be able to switch seamlessly between mobile phone and Wi-Fi signals, and between the masts of competing mobile phone networks, as their phones seek out the best signals.”

It’s still early days yet, with details still being worked out. The network may not even exist as a standalone service, Engadget reports.

FierceWireless.com reports rumors that the service is slated for the first half of this year, but it also sees a lot of potential pitfalls for Google.

For one, Google would need to set up customer service centers and retail distribution, which are not its core competencies. In addition, other wireless carriers have already spent billions on marketing their services, which would put Google at a disadvantage.

In other Google news, Pichai all but admitted that Google+ has been a failure, with few active users and thus being primed to be stripped for parts.

And Mashable reports that the company is getting close to launching its solar-powered drone program, Project Titan, and will send up its first fleet this year.

That so-called Moonshot project from the Google[x] R&D lab will also include sending up floating cell towers in balloons as part of Project Loon.

Among other innovations announced at Mobile World Congress, the Official Android Blog reports new Android Wear apps and watches being launched, including ones to create customizable texts, help you tune your guitar, evaluate your golf swing and a watch face that changes colors to match your clothing.

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