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Google Rolling Out Its Own Wireless Service This Week

April 22, 2015
Internet & TV, Utilities
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Google is expected to unveil its own wireless service in the United States this week, putting the tech giant in at least limited competition with the likes of AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint.

Google’s wireless service could debut as early as Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.

What will make it stand out — aside from association with Google’s existing expanse of products across mobile and the Web — is a model through which users would pay only for the amount of data they actually use.

As the Journal notes, many existing U.S. wireless plans require consumers to pay for a set amount of data that rolls over at the end of each month. In many cases, that means people are paying for data they never use.

Google’s wireless service is expected to run on networks owned by Sprint and T-Mobile, which have agreed to carry the traffic, according to “people familiar with the matter.” The service will be able to switch automatically between Sprint and T-Mobile, depending on which has the strongest signal at any given time and place.

The Journal says that, initially, the service only will be available for Google’s new Nexus 6 smartphones. In the past, Google has introduced services that only work with its own products before rolling them out more widely.

In March, Google’s Sundar Pichai, a senior vice president, said the wireless network was months away from release and that it would be a relatively limited experiment, not one aimed at disrupting the wireless industry (which may explain the reported willingness of Sprint and T-Mobile to play along).

“While Google may not be targeting huge numbers of subscribers, their entry into this market is very important, because it has the potential to disrupt the wireless industry in much the same way Google Fiber prompted changes in the cable and broadband industries,” Rajeev Chand, head of research at investment bank Rutberg & Company, told the Wall Street Journal.

Fiber promises super-fast 1-gigabit-per-second speeds. Google Fiber is active in three metro areas and was announced for four more earlier this year, with others on the way. As it rolled out, other Internet providers began making their own high-speed options available.

Doug Gross is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow him on Twitter @doug_gross and on Google+.

Image via iStock.