Google Wireless service may hop between networks to hunt optimal signal, report says

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Michael Homnick

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Google’s rumored wireless service could include a neat trick: switching your phone between T-Mobile, Sprint, or Wi-Fi depending on who has the best coverage at the moment.

A Wall Street Journal report says that’s one of the plans to make Google’s potential wireless network a compelling alternative.

Instead of building its own towers, Google would become a Mobile Network Virtual Operator (MVNO), contracting with Sprint and T-Mobile to connect devices over their networks. While neither of these have the footprint of AT&T or Verizon, combining the two with some capability for attaching to Wi-Fi signals could be enough to get people to switch over from their current carrier.

While that would require a phone to work across multiple GSM/CDMA/LTE bands, most current phones would be able to do this, including Google’s own Nexus 6 and Nexus 5.

Google’s foray into the world of wireless service has been in the works for some time, and could launch in the first half of this year. 

Why this matters: It would take a company with the money and clout of Google to break into the wireless industry. The carriers have long been a thorn in the side of Google by delaying and tinkering with Android updates. With Google’s own wireless network it could dish out the latest flavors of Android directly to consumers and push even more Android device sales.

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