Google is starting small with its new wireless network, only granting access to those with its own gargantuan phone.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is going to launch its own mobile network in March, piggybacking off T-Mobile and Sprint's towers. But the only phone you'll be able to use at first is the Nexus 6, a device which may have limited appeal due to its hefty size and constant supply issues.
Google will become a Mobile Network Virtual Operator, selling its own plans without building out a network from scratch. But instead of bursting onto the scene by trying to disrupt the entire industry overnight, the strategy appears similar to Google's Nexus line of phones and tablets—niche products that appeal to those who want the most Googley experience possible.
If the network can throw in some perks at those who live heavily in the Google ecosystem, and allay fears about how much coverage it can bring by relying on the number three and four carriers, it could be an appealing option.
The most interesting rumor about the network is that devices will be able to hop between the competing networks' towers and Wi-Fi to latch on to the optimal signal. So if you're in a friend's basement that doesn't get network service, you wouldn't miss any calls or texts if you're connected to his Wi-Fi.
Google's Sundar Pichai told an audience at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that the network will launch "in the coming months."
The story behind the story: Ever since it launched its Nexus program, Google has been trying to nudge the mobile world towards a purer form of Android. Carriers and handset makers have long tinkered with Google's platform, sometimes replacing Google services with their own. We're intrigued at how Google plans to tackle this issue through its newest initiative.