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Google Will Launch An MVNO – But It Will Only Be For Nexus Devices

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Sources say possibly only the Nexus 6 will work on the new network

Google raised many eyebrows with the announcement it would be launching an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) at Mobile World Congress, but this anticipation may be tempered by reports that the network will only work on the company’s own Nexus devices.

Sources close to the service has revealed Google is only planned to open up its network to Nexus smartphones, and possibly even only to the latest device, the Nexus 6, announced back in October.

This is reportedly so that Google can test out the limits of its network and ensure the traffic carried stays at a manageable level, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Sundar Pichai Google AndroidLimited

Google’s as yet unnamed MVNO was first revealed by vice president Sundar Pichai (pictured left) at Mobile World Congress earlier this week. The network will initially launch in the US, possibly even within the next few weeks, with T-Mobile and Sprint lined up as initial partners to provide cellular coverage, along with Wi-Fi to deliver what Pichai called a “seamless user experience”.

Limiting traffic to selected devices would also allow Google better integration between software and hardware, as the company will be able to adapt the Nexus device software if needed to provide a superior mobile surfing experience.

Pichai indicated in his talk that Google intended to keep the service low-scale to begin with, stating that the company “don’t intend to become a carrier at scale.”

An MVNO would be the latest step in Google’s quest for network domination, following its existing telecommunication-based projects, including fibre optic network Google Fiber and Project Loon (high-altitude balloons providing internet access).

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