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Project Fi Turns Google into a Wireless Service Provider

It’s official: Google has launched Project Fi, making the company a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator).

The new service is currently by invitation-only and is currently working solely with the Motorola Nexus 6 tablet. Google has partnered with Sprint and T-Mobile for nationwide coverage.

Plan specifics:

Google is charging just $20/month for voice, SMS, Wi-Fi tethering, and international roaming in 120+ countries. Each GB of data (also comes with roaming) costs an extra $10/month; notably, any unused data is refunded. Users automatically connect to more than 1M Wi-Fi hotspots when they’re available, and rely on Sprint/T-Mobile’s 4G networks when they’re not.

AT&T — who today had their earnings call — is taking a wait-and-see approach to this wireless market entrant.

Following up on my own previous comments about this news (when it was in rumor form), I mentioned about the likelihood of Google being a game-changer in this space. Given what we now know, I’d recommend that they’ll continue to be a niche player in the space until such time as they open their service to other devices. Also, without knowing the search giant’s agreements with Sprint and T-Mobile, these larger wireless operators may already have plans in place to stave off any cannibalization that Google might bring in opening up their service to additional devices.

Disclosure: Long GOOGL, T

This posting was cross-posted from my companion site,

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