Google has made the announcement for its latest venture. They would like to be your cell phone service provider. This is the first time that your choice of your cell phone company won’t have to based on the offered coverage area. The secret to this offering is how Google will get the calls to and from your cell phone. They will be looking at the best signal from Sprint, T-Mobile and open wifi access points.
This isn’t anything new. A MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) known as Republic Wireless has been offering this for some time. Google is taking that idea and adding a 2nd carrier to the mix. If you havent heard the term MVNO, it is a company that buys time in bulk from a cell phone carrier and resells it. Google offering unlimited calling and text messaging at $20 is attractive. With this product, Google is offering you the best coverage without having to choose an individual carrier.
The interesting part of their offer is for the data part of your bill. With other cell phone providers, y0u either have to buy more than what you need to avoid overage charges. If you don’t use what you buy, you get a refund on your bill.
The initial limitation on this service is that you have to use a Google Nexus 6 phone. While some have complained about this, it enables Google to start with a known hardware component. Once they have the service running the way it should, I would expect them to expand support to other phones.
The twist is that you have to apply for an invite. Google is only accepting requests for an invite from those using a gmail.com email address. Even if you are already using Google Docs with a custom domain name, you cant apply. Simple solution – create a Gmail account and send the request.
Now comes the hard part – waiting for the invite to come. The response I received from Google Fi said I should hear something within 30 days. I will write more on this when I get my invite, receive the phone, etc. I am keeping my eyes out for a particular application – use as an emergency phone that can operate on either a GSM or CDMA based network. Time will tell on how that will play out.
When you get your invite, remember the folks at Gazelle will buy back your current phone to help offset the cost of getting a Google Nexus 6.
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