More news from Mobile World Congress: Google has announced that they will be launching a wireless mobile phone service, and Amazon might not be far behind.
Instead of becoming actual large-scale network providers, these massive internet companies would become Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO). As Business Insider explains, this means that the corporations wouldn’t own their own bandwidth or transmitter but would rent them from already established network carriers.
For Amazon, the impending launch of this new service is still just media speculation. But as GigaOm reported in 2012, the company serves in a similar capacity in Japan:
Amazon has relationships with more than one hundred operators all over the world, which deliver its e-books and other content to Kindles via their 3G networks. Amazon only charges customers for the e-book download, not a monthly subscription fee — but it’s an MVNO relationship just the same.
While Amazon’s plans remain uncertain, however, Google will be formally announcing their wireless service plans in the next few months.
“We don’t intend to be a network operator at scale; we are actually working with carrier partners,” said Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president, during the Mobile World Congress. “Our goal is to drive a set of innovations we think should arrive, but do it a smaller scale.”
Wired reports that Google has already been in talks with Verizon and AT&T about its plans for the service. Although it doesn’t consider these networks as competitors now, however, Wired points out that with a company like Google, this could change very easily.
Amazon and Google are not the first to arrive to the MVNO party. CNN points out that Best Buy, Staples and Wal-Mart already offer wireless mobile plans to their customers. Due to their massive size, however, both Amazon and Google would have a huge advantage if they were to enter the MVNO race. It appears that Google has the head start.
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