Google has unveiled plans for a mobile network in the US, expanding the web giants plans to boost connectivity worldwide to increase digital ad spend.
Details of what Google insiders are calling “Project Nova” were unveiled by Sundar Pichai, recently promoted as second in command to co-founder Larry Page, at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona.
The initiative will be on a small scale, Pichai said, comparing it to Google’s fiber broadband project. Sprint s among the carriers that have network-sharing agreements with companies that sell service under their own brand name.
Subscribers of Google’s “virtual network” will be able to switch seamlessly between mobile phone and Wi-Fi signals, and between the masts of competing mobile phone networks, as their phones seek out the best signals.
Dropped calls may also become less of a nuisance, as phones will automatically try to redial the number should the communication be cut mid conversation.
The firm is also launching solar-powered planes to provide Wi-Fi service in the world’s unconnected areas in the next few months.
“We’re working hard to create a backbone to provide connectivity,” Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai said at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Building on the success of its Android operating system, selling its own wireless service could enable Google to add mobile-device subscribers and make it easier to serve those users ads via smartphones and tablets.
Pichai also said Google is working on a service to compete with new payment platforms from Apple and Samsung. The new Android Pay service will enable other companies to tap into the software platform to help make buying items simpler on smartphones and tablets.
Professor Will Stewart from the Institution of Engineering and Technology said: “Google’s proposed entry into the market as a mobile virtual network operator – and its existing efforts in fibre networks and airborne platforms – in the US could potentially be good news for the UK too.
“If we can put aside concerns over Google’s market dominance in some areas, the company is likely to pursue similarly innovative efforts in the UK, which could speed up the arrival of universal digital accessibility, not least by encouraging others providers to rise to the challenge. It’s by no means a silver bullet, but it does have the potential to take us one step further towards achieving a reliable universal broadband service in the UK,” Stewart concluded.