Google to launch own 'Nexus'-like carrier network to push innovations in wireless

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Speaking at a Mobile World Congress keynote on Monday, Google's senior vice president of products, Sundar Pichai, confirmed earlier speculation and announced that the company is planning to launch its own carrier service with more details set to be announced in the coming months.

Pichai elaborated that the company is currently in negotiations with established carriers in an attempt to become a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). His comments were highlighted by CNet.

"We don't intend to be a network operator at scale," he said. "We are working with carrier partners. You'll see our answer in coming months. Our goal is to drive a set of innovations we think should arrive, but do it a smaller scale, like Nexus devices, so people will see what we're doing."

Rumors have had Google working with Sprint and T-Mobile on the project, but during his keynote, Pichai made no mention of specific allies. He did however state that part of the company's goal is to better mesh cellular and Wi-Fi services, which supports one past rumor that the company would use Wi-Fi to enhance coverage.

Some MVNOs, such as Republic Wireless, are already routing calls through Wi-Fi networks. Republic only makes use of Sprint's cellular network when Wi-Fi is unavailable.

No other details are available on Google's offering. The service could however have an impact similar to Google Fiber, which has forced rival ISPs in cities like Austin and Kansas City to boost speeds in order to stay competitive. By making the Internet faster and easier to access, Google drives its key search and advertising businesses.

For iPhone and iPad owners, a Google MVNO could potentially offer a cheaper and more practical way to connect their devices. Apple itself forced changes to the cellular industry with the 2007 introduction of the iPhone; data plans evolved from incidental offerings to a core product, becoming more affordable in the process.