back to article Google it onna Google phone onna GOOGLE NETWORK. MVNO plan imminent

Google could uncloak plans for a mobile network in the US today, possibly running on two networks, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. While a lot of the brouhaha over the plans – which were referenced in a presentation at Mobile World Congress in March – has been over the cost of data, perhaps the most interesting aspect is …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All change please!

    > It could be a simple SIM issued from one of the two networks with a roaming agreement, although the most likely mechanism for this is a dual-IMSI SIM. This would give access to both networks, but it would not switch on the basis of the strongest signal.

    But it could switch on the basis of a command from a Google server - and since Google have very good records of signal strength by carrier for every location that an Android phone user has ever visited, I suspect that this won't be a problem.

    1. Simon Rockman

      Re: All change please!

      It could if you wanted to halve the battery life with constant use of GPS and checking back to the server.

      You'd get a great signal and no battery life with which to use it.

      1. Test Man

        Re: All change please!

        Why would it need GPS? Google already knows where you are even with GPS off (from cell and wifi data).

        1. JetSetJim

          Re: All change please!

          A couple of points:

          a) on my Android, the GPS icon fires up every so often anyway - I assume to report my position somewhere, but haven't bothered to try and trace it - I do have Google Location History enabled, but I did notice this behaviour before I did this. Perhaps it's a different app, although I don't knowingly have something that needs this info but I wouldn't be surprised if some app with ads in it got location permission on install.

          b) why would you need it constantly on? Every 30mins or so would probably be ok for network switching. I'm sure Google could even add some algorithm to determine a fuzzy location based on your past movements, last location fix and time elapsed since so that you could drop that frequency even further.

          I don't know if Google are getting cell tower data - this usually terminates in the mobile network, and Google won't have any visibility of that (unless they've bought the data feed).

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: All change please!

            I believe the location service fires up every so often to keep track of last known position allowing it to get a faster satellite lock for the user when it's needed.

            If you switch off location services and move to a new location, when you switch on again it takes longer to get a lock and better sky visibility is needed.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All change please!

        > It could if you wanted to halve the battery life with constant use of GPS and checking back to the server.

        It would only need to do a location check (either GPS or cell tower) when the signal strength drops below a given threshold.

  2. Oh Matron!

    SMS forwarding

    Has been in the GSM spec for years. Understood that Sprint isn't a GSM network, but as it routes across (well, did) C7, should be transparent to the network type

    1. Simon Rockman

      Re: SMS forwarding

      Yes, but the numbers need to be in the IR-21 database and as Google isn't a telco it would need to get a telco to do it.

  3. petur

    Flat Fee / Allowance

    I'm quite happy with a flat fee or allowance model, my usage is way below what I'm allowed and I never need to wonder of fear what data usage is going to cost.

    And I feel that way of thinking very much when I go abroad and suddenly roaming charges by the MB - I'm checking usage all the time, switch stuff off,... Not a happy time

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. R 11

    It's worth pointing out that Republic Wireless already offer something very similar using the Spring network, with limited roaming to Verizon and calls and texts being routed over WiFi when connected to a decent signal. At $25/month for unlimited calls and texts and 5gb of data, it has a lot going for it.

    It will be interesting to see how Goggle's approach differs in features and competes in price.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ting has sprint+tmobile now too, though not on the same SIM. Neither network is as good as Verizon's out here, but at $6/mo per device with volume discounts for increased usage, that's a trade I'm happy to make.

    2. BobRocket

      The Google approach will be 'cheaper and ubiquitous', seamless roaming anywhere in the world for a flat data rate.

      Seems like a reasonable ambition, how hard can it be ?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      (I live in a state where Sprint coverage is limited, and I don't really feel the need for mobile data so I stick with the Republic $10/mo (currently $11.82 with all the taxes) unlimited calls and text plan. I switched to Republic once they made the Moto E available as I wanted a smartphone to consolidate my old flip phone and Galaxy Player (which I used mainly as a music player). The regular carriers are hostile to smartphone-with-no-data. Not only is the Moto E cheaper than the G, but it has an SD Card slot.)

      Google will be able to offload to itself. There's clearly room to undercut the cellphone companies.

  6. Carl W

    Effectively two numbers?

    Why would the SIM need two numbers (MSISDNs)? It's possible to map a single MSISDN to multiple IMSIs. Wouldn't it also be better if Google had their own HLR and signed up to wholesale roaming agreements with the two networks?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do you really want....

    Google to know even more about you?

    They already know all the web pages you visit. All your Phone numbers as well?

    Then the ads will come.

    "We notice that you called ABC plc yesterday. You might be interested in the better deals that ZYX have to offer."

    The Hell No I don't.

    Positng AC because we know that Google reads everything posted here that mentions them.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Do you really want....

      Indeed more ways for Google to spy on the Advert Consumers.

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Do you really want....

      "We notice that you called ABC plc yesterday. You might be interested in the better deals that ZYX have to offer."

      They are more subtle than that.

      "Positng AC because we know that Google reads everything posted here that mentions them."

      That doesn't work, as Google gets your IP via Analytics, Adverts etc. Unless you already were clever with NoScript domain blocking and possibly your firewall.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Do you really want....

        All blocked at my firewall and NoScript.

        Connected at the moment via a Pub's WiFi more than 300 miles from home (paying with good old Cash).

        No ANPR or Traffic Cameras for miles.

        Suck on that Google.

        1. RegGuy1 Silver badge

          Re: Do you really want....

          Ah but they can see you through the cross hairs on CCTV up there in the corner. No, not that corner, the other corner.

          Facial recognition -- ah, thought it was you. What are you doing 300 miles from home? Must make a note...

        2. wardster

          Re: Do you really want....

          Oh dear.

          Remember when you bought your equipment?

          Of course the MAC address will be known to the manufacturer, then there is traceability down to where the equipment was bought. Unless you wore a balaclava and a boiler suit when buying this equipment, and of course paying in cash, then your identity will be known.

          Are you SURE that this information is NOT known to the Google family?

          Unless you have NEVER used this equipment anywhere else EVER apart from on this pub's WIFI then it is more than likely that your identity will be known, and the happy Google family will be sending the black helicopters to your location soon :)

          Hope the pub does a good pint :)

    3. Tom Maddox Silver badge

      Re: Do you really want....

      Your anti-Google paranoia makes me think of this.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Do you really want....

      It'll be jiust like the rest of Google (and Amazon's) advertising after you bought an XYZ. You will b epursued round the Interwebs with ads like "Special offer on ZYZ"

      Shit no Sebastian. I just bought one - and from someone who respects me enough not to dump in my face.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Privatisation of Evil

    Assuming the unrestricted Wiretapping function of the Nation State.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  9. Shannon Jacobs

    Why use GPS rather than signal strength directly?

    I'm having a bit of trouble understanding why they would bother with the GPS at all. If they want to know the best WiFi network to use, then the smartphone should periodically scan the available networks and CHECK the signal strengths. Even if the GPS didn't drain the battery and even if it gave accurate locations, that is not going to guarantee the best WiFi signal, even for very approximate senses of guarantee.

    In general almost all google news these days supports the hypothesis of increasing EVIL, but at least this one seems neutral. Is that a good thing yet?

  10. skytrucker

    Unread sim cards?

    I hope Google and the carriers thoroughly checked out the sim card manufacturing process. After the NSA and GCHQ skullduggery. Just sayin' wouldn't want old cards.

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