Google has announced that US Cellular has joined Project Fi, its initiative to create a mobile network based on 4G and WiFi technologies throughout the US.
The fifth-biggest mobile operator in the country, US Cellular becomes Project Fi's third network partner, after Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile US Inc. , and should help Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) to improve the coverage and speed of its service. (See Google's WiFi-First Mobile Service 'Fi' Is Here.)
US Cellular's network is available in 23 states and is said to provide 4G coverage for more than 99% of customers across urban and rural areas.
Google has essentially become a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) through Project Fi, but it differs from other MVNOs by drawing on the resources of several partners, instead of just one.
According to the search engine giant, this means it can provide much-higher quality services to consumers by selecting the best network in a specific neighborhood at a particular time.
"By analyzing speeds from each network, Project Fi is able to predict the fastest network at your location -- down to the city block -- and automatically connect you," said Google in a statement. "We're constantly adapting to consider how factors like new cell towers and newly available radio frequencies are impacting real-world speeds."
The downside is that only Google's own Nexus phones feature the technology allowing devices to switch seamlessly from one network to another.
— Iain Morris, , News Editor, Light Reading