January 22, 2015
Verizon's CFO appears to have confirmed reports that Google will become a wireless competitor by offering its own commercial mobile services, using Sprint and T-Mobile's networks.
"It's just another competitor as we look at it," Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s CFO Fran Shammo told analysts during the Q&A session on the Verizon fourth-quarter earnings call Thursday. He cited Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s move as a "prime example" of how competitive the wireless business in the US is right now.
The Information first reported that Google was working on "Project Nova," a move to become a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), headed by Google exec Nick Fox. An MVNO offers wireless services to customers under its own brand but leases the network and spectrum from other operators. The report cited two sources saying that Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile US Inc. will provide network capacity for Google.
Neither Google nor the operators have actually confirmed the report yet.
For all the latest news from the wireless networking and services sector, check out our dedicated mobile channel here on Light Reading.
On the earnings call, however, Shammo talked about the MVNO as if it is a done deal. He cited Google Fiber as an example of how the search giant can move aggressively into markets.
"Their whole purpose is to increase speeds so people can do more search," Shammo stated. The more users search Google the more ads they get served, which is how Google makes its money. (See The New Internet Space Race: Google's Final Frontier?.)
The CFO may well have cause to have the inside track on Google's MVNO ambitions. Earlier reports in April suggested that Google was talking to Verizon about a similar hook-up. (See Google Casts a Wide Wireless Net.)
Shammo was asked about that too but he didn't address it.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading
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