Google MVNO details revealed in new app teardown

Google’s working on plans to offer cellular service directly to users, operating as an MVNO: the company has confirmed that much, leaving us to wonder about the details. And while Google I/O may soon bring new info about the company’s ambitions, today we get some early insight into how this all might work, with the discovery of a Nexus 6 firmware image containing an apparent account management app for this MVNO.

The app goes by the name Tycho and also makes reference to the Project Nova codename for the MVNO service itself we’ve heard before, as well as suggests a new internal codename for these efforts: Project Fi. Text strings in the app refer to account activation and number porting, all things we’d expect considering what we’ve heard so far about Google’s plans.

celltowerIt appears that Google will bill users for data by the gigabyte, allowing them to choose how much they want each month, and taking the important step of refunding them for unused data. Voice and text service may be offered for an additional flat rate. And despite reports that Google’s looking to make international calling free, this app shows a per-minute rate for such calls.

Offerings could mirror some of the multi-user stuff we see from the big carriers, including shared data and managing multiple lines per account. And for those of us with more phones than we know what to do with, Google looks like it will make it easy to name a primary device and swap that as you switch handsets. Other topics mentioned in the app include phone financing and Google Voice integration.

Google may still be fine-tuning the nature of what it intends to offer, but based on what we can see here, the company appears to have very big plans for Project Nova/Fi, and when it finally becomes available to the public, this could prove to be quite the attractive full-featured service.

Source: Android Police

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Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!