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Google to Develop MVNO SIM Cards

Google is offering its Spanish employees company branded MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) SIM cards to test Google Voice features on Nexus S handsets.

The news, which might be a major cause of worry for mobile operators, indicates that the company is indeed planning to move into the MVNO space with its own Google branded SIM cards.

A MVNO is not essentially a network carrier because it used voice, text and data capabilities from an existing carrier and sells mobile services under its own brand name. Here in the UK, popular MVNOs include Virgin Mobile and Tesco Mobile, which use T-Mobile and O2 networks to offer their own mobile services.

According to an article on Slash Gear, the SIM cards offered by Google use Movistar, Vodafone and Orange networks.

The company is expected to conduct MVNO trials in its facilities across Europe and currently only plans to offer the SIM cards to employees.

Once before, the company tried to bypass network carriers by offering the first Google branded Nexus smartphone directly from its website. However, the approach failed mainly due to the high price the device was available for.