Last month, news broke that Google is working on an MVNO that will ride on the combined networks of Sprint and T-Mobile. This is big news, and many people discussed how this could be a low-cost service that uses the best available signal from the No. 3 and No. 4 carriers combined in order to get network quality close to matching the top two. This, in itself, is potentially disruptive, but Google is likely up to something more, and an MVNO may enable it to do something far more interesting.
Sprint MVNO Ting Mobile reported that the number of accounts and devices attached to its service effectively doubled in 2014, to a total of 94,000 active accounts and 147,000 active devices at the end of the year. While the numbers are relatively small in the context of the larger wireless industry, the company's growth is noteworthy in that Ting is one of the few U.S. MVNOs that publicly reports its subscriber numbers.
Disruptive Wireless analyst Dean Bubley takes stab at figuring out Google's rumored MVNO with Sprint and T-Mobile US, and thinks it could be a tablet-oriented service rather than a smartphone-based one.
Cablevision kicked off sales of its Freewheel Wi-Fi calling and data service, and now seems to be emphasizing Freewheel's data capabilities as opposed to the service being a replacement for cellular service.
BSkyB became the latest provider of TV and fixed broadband services to throw its hat into the mobile ring in what is regarded as a largely defensive move, after the satellite company signed a wholesale agreement to use the network of Telefónica (O2) UK.
Google has not confirmed it is launching an MVNO, though reports seem to indicate it is planning to do so. We don't know what Google's go-to-market strategy would be or how much money it would invest. Yet we do have some outlines of how and why Google would launch a wireless service--and so far it does not seem that promising.
Google's rumored MVNO service with Sprint and T-Mobile US would hunt for the best available cellular or Wi-Fi signal to route voice, text message and data traffic, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Cablevision is launching a Wi-Fi-only mobile service to offer customers an alternative to traditional cellular wireless plans, banking on its network of 1.1 million Wi-Fi hotspots to attract customers.
Google is in discussions with Sprint and T-Mobile US to launch an MVNO service on their networks aimed at getting wireless carriers to cut prices and improve their service, according to multiple reports.
Ting, which currently operates as a mobile virtual network operator of Sprint, said it purchased a majority stake in a small, independent Internet service provider (ISP) in Charlottesville, Va., called Blue Ridge InternetWorks (BRI). "Just like that, we're starting our new mission to bring the things that people love about Ting for mobile to the world of fixed access," the company said.