Rumour Mill: Google running MVNO test-bed in Spain

Employees of Google Spain are rumoured to be testing operator networks for the possible launch as an MVNO. The company is thought to have provided a number of its workers with Google-branded SIM cards that variously work with Movistar, Orange and Vodafone. However, it remains unclear if the entire MVNO operation is a hoax.

While Google has been previously tipped as being interested in becoming further involved in cellular operations, this Spanish "trial" is being seen as a forerunner of the company's wider ambitions across Europe. Numerous reports indicated that Google staff elsewhere is Europe would start similar MVNO trials.

While Google's attempt to bypass operators with its Nexus One handset were unsuccessful, this fresh approach as an MVNO could reassure consumers, especially if the company involves customised Google devices manufactured by the newly acquired Motorola Mobility division.

But when asked for comment, Google referred interested parties to the Spanish web site Xatak Android that claims images supporting the Google MVNO SIM were nothing more than a montage of photos put together by people intent on misleading the local press, weakening the MVNO theory.

However, further evidence of Google's plans for Europe comes from a report carried by The Next Web that some of its European employees are trialling Google Voice ahead of a planned launch outside the US. Google's European director of business development, Jens Redmer, said that, while he couldn't confirm a precise launch date, Google has "concrete action" on bringing Google Voice to Europe.

In the US, operator Sprint Nextel started offering the Google Voice calling service in March at no extra charge. The development was a first in the wireless world and was remarkable because it ceded to Google the call-management functions that were once the sole domain of operator.

For more:
- see this Xatak Android post (translated via Google Translate)
- see this PaidContent article
- see this SlashGear post
- see this The Next Web article

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