More information has been revealed about Google’s plans to become a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).
Google confirmed its interest in becoming a network operator at Mobile World Congress earlier this year, but until now not much was known about the venture.
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Now, a leaked Nexus 6 firmware image has shed further light on the matter, with smartphone news site Android Police reporting that Google’s offering is called “Project Fi.” It’s not clear yet if this is just a codename, but it does support reports suggesting that the service will use a mix of Wi-Fi and cellular data.
According to the unofficial image, a Project Fi user can access their phone number, billing information, account management and more from an application called “Tycho.”
“Tycho really doesn't offer many unique or remarkable features, but there is one aspect I'd like to call out,” Android Police reports. “It's possible to activate service (partially), request a new number or initiate a transfer, and it all happens from within the app. Status updates are displayed when things change, including some degree of assistance if there are problems along the way. I'm not sure if any other service provider has ever done quite this much from within an app, but it seems like a nice touch.”
Unlike most other wireless carriers, Project Fi only charges users for the data that they use, so if they do not utilise their full allocation they will be credited the leftover amount on their next bill. Conversely, if they exceed the data amount stipulated in their service plan, users will be charged a flat rate per each extra gigabyte.
Android Police also reports that calling or texting in the US is free and international calls are priced competitively. Sharing data is also possible, so entire families could work from a single account.
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Currently there is no official word on Project Fi, so it could ultimately lead to nothing, but the fact that Google has stated its interest in becoming a mobile carrier suggests there could be some weight to this particular rumour.