Nexus 6 firmware hints at Google wireless service with refunds for unused data
Google's plans to offer a wireless service in the United States may have been uncovered earlier than planned. An examination of a recent firmware image of the Nexus 6 appears to suggest Google will offer a service where customers will only pay for the amount of services they use, with the potential service also being given a logo and a temporary name: Project Fi.
MVNO promises not to take on the big three carriers
Google has confirmed plans to offer its own wireless service in the US market. The company will establish itself as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) using existing carrier networks, according to a plan outlined by product chief Sundar Pichai today at Mobile World Congress. The company claims it does not aim to engage in direct competition with the big three US carriers, instead focusing on small-scale operations that provide flexibility to experiment with hardware and software.
FreedomPop, Ting, Virgin Mobile, more preparing to offer iPhone 6, latest Androids
New reports indicate that Sprint has dropped a previous requirement that resellers of its network -- FreedomPop, Straight Talk, Boost Mobile, Virgin, and some others -- wait more than a year before offering support for the latest models of Android and iOS devices. The change allows the mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) to immediately begin offering the current iPhone 6 line from Apple, the top-selling smartphone worldwide.
Tiered service carrier remains closed to iPhones, BlackBerry
Ting, the MVNO from Tucows, has opened up its service to customers with Sprint handsets. The "Bring your Sprint Phone" program allows users on Sprint to use the service, with seven handsets from Sprint's range being supported by the carrier, which happens to use Sprint's network to function in the first place.
RadioShack MVNO based on Cricket, use HTC One V
RadioShack may be launching a contract-less mobile service in the future. Leaked screenshots from the company received by Engadget allegedly show a product listing entitled "HTC One V No-Contract Phone for RadioShack Mobile" based on Cricket. If true, the move would see the electronics retailer becoming a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) in an already crowded carrier marketplace.
Amazon first foreign company to become an NVMO in Japan
Amazon will be the first foreign company to offer a prepaid wireless service in Japan. Nikkei [account required] reports prepaid SIM cards with 500MB preallocated to it will be sold for 1,980 Yen ($25) through the website, and as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), will be carried by NTT Docomo's LTE network. This takes place ahead of the expected Japanese launch of the Amazon Kindle in the summer.
An Apple patent application from 2006, recently disclosed by the US Patent and Trademark Office, suggests that Apple at least once contemplated letting users pick from multiple carriers on an iPhone. The current American iPhone is tethered by default to AT&T and affiliates, forcing users to hack it if they want to operate on a choice of networks; under the scheme described by the patent however, network addresses for multiple carriers could be stored on a mobile device, and selected as necessary for the purposes of roaming. This somewhat reflects the way iPhone users can now choose Wi-Fi hotspots.
Helio loses $326 million
MVNO carrier Helio has posted a net loss of $326 million for 2007, an official announcement reveals. Although the carrier's revenue grew to $171 million last year from $46 million in 2006, the company has also been facing mounting costs, such as an advertising budget that rose from $21.6 to $47.5 million. Recent losses are notably out of proportion to those from 2006, which were only $192 million.