Your Next Phone Contract Might Be With Google

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Your next cellphone contract could be with Google, after the search giant confirmed plans to become a mobile operator. The project will be "small scale," according to Sundar Pichai, Google's Android chief, who was speaking at Mobile World Congress on Monday, but did not give any specific details about the company's plans.

"I think we're at the stage where we need to think of hardware, software, and connectivity together," Pichai said. "We don't intend to be a carrier at scale, and we're working with existing partners. You'll see some of our ideas come to fruition in the next few months."

The news follows media reports last month that Google was looking to partner with T-Mobile and Sprint in the U.S. to operate their wireless service. Pichai did not confirm this, but said the company is working with "some partners" on the project. Google would sign a resale deal with a carrier, known as a mobile virtual network operator agreement (MVNO). This would allow it to essentially rent capacity from existing carriers and means Google won't have to build costly infrastructure.

Pichai said Google's service would not compete directly with the likes of Verizon and T-Mobile.

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--- Arjun Kharpal

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