Google confirms it'll launch the 'Nexus' of virtual phone networks

Google has just confirmed a rumor at Mobile World Congress that many thought unlikely: It'll launch its own "white label" MVNO cell network. That means it'll carry or resell wireless services from larger operators in one way or another, not unlike, say, Boost Mobile. However, Android head Sundar Pichai stressed that the service wouldn't operate on a large scale or compete head to head against carriers like AT&T or Verizon. Instead, he likened it to Google's Nexus devices, calling it a way to drive new technology in order to make cellular and WiFi services work together in a "seamless" fashion.

When asked about pricing, Pichai said, "It's a bit different from this," indicating that the virtual network may not even launch as a standalone service. Rumors that Google may create its own MVNO first started swirling after Mountain View detailed plans to expand wireless access in Google Fiber cities. The idea is to supplement Fiber-sourced WiFi using LTE, with uninterrupted switching between the two -- even in the middle of a call. Pichai added that Google wants to "experiment" along those lines and hopes major carriers will adopt any new tech as well. The search giant will reveal more in the coming months, including a carrier partner -- possibly at Google I/O in May.

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