Google is reportedly thinking about expanding its Fiber business to include a wireless cellular service. The company is apparently looking to become a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO).
This means that instead of building towers, Google would be a middleman who buys the service at wholesale prices and resells it under its own brand.
The Information writes that Google has already discussed the plan with Sprint and Verizon. The service would be designed for users who live in cities where Google Fiber is available.
It’s rather unclear exactly what Google would want to achieve through this. Becoming an MVNO would not give it the same powers that Fiber does. In fact, as ArsTechnica points out, Fiber gives the company complete control over its network, allowing it to differentiate it through location, speed and pricing.
Furthermore, by coming into various towns, Google is forcing other competitors to up their game – to lower prices and to increase the offered speeds, especially since the subscription fees are rather similar between Google’s 1,000 Mbps speeds and the regular 15 Mbps offered by cable.
As an MVNO, Google would not be able to do any of this, since it would simply use other companies’ network.
The only reasonable explanation is that Google wants to eventually build its own network of towers, but seeks a way to supplement the service it offers now during the Fiber rollout.