Google (GOOGL) is exploring launching a wireless carrier service, The Information reported on Thursday. Citing sources “who have discussed the matter with Google”, the publication notes a January meeting between the search giant and Verizon (VZ) officials in which the possibility of a Google mobile virtual network operator [MVNO] based on Verizon’s network was discussed.
Last year Google reportedly held similar talks with Sprint, but nothing materialized. The company seems to have shifted its plans and is said to be more interested in reaching a deal with Verizon Wireless (VZ), which is the largest mobile operator in the country with a nationwide 4G LTE network, or perhaps even T-Mobile (TMUS).
By operating as a MVNO, Google will not invest in infrastructure or purchase spectrum. The service, which could roll out to the same areas where Google Fiber is offered, will be based on Verizon’s network. Google will just set its own plans and pricing.
According to tech site Android Authority, if a Google MVNO does come to fruition “it could work somewhat like Republic Wireless, in that it would use Google Fiber Wi-Fi access points to make calls, texts and use data when it can, and would then route over to their partnering network in situations where you don’t have Wi-Fi access.”
Google currently offers its Fiber Gigabit Internet Service in Kansas City, Missouri, and Provo, Utah, and plans to bring it to Austin, Texas. In February, the company said it is exploring plans to bring Fiber to 34 new U.S. cities including Portland and Atlanta.
Google’s class A shares, which have fallen by half today as the class C shares begin trading, are down 38 cents, trading at $567.61 as of 3:08PM EDT.