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Report: Only Massive Nexus 6 Will Work With New Google Wireless Service
Limiting compatible handsets one way Google can avoid scaring carriers.
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Google Wireless could launch by the end of next month. The “big catch” being discussed today, however, is that only one phone will work on the hybrid network: the massive Nexus 6 (by Motorola).
The device will need to jump between WiFi and wireless networks (Sprint, T-Mobile) that operate according to different standards. Sprint is CDMA and T-Mobile is GSM. The associated Nexus 6 devices will be capable of “network hopping,” which Motorola has extensive experience with. Some versions of the iPhone 6 are also compatible with both CDMA and GSM networks.
Other Android phones will thus not work. This is one way Google can limit enrollment and reassure other mobile carriers that it won’t be directly competing with them. It remains to be seen how Google prices the phone and plans.
Google confirmed the rumored wireless network at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week but added that the purpose of its network was to drive innovation. Google’s Sundar Pichai said that the offering would be “small scale.” It will still be national, however.
I would guess that Google will not aggressively price the phones and plans so as to not undercut current carrier pricing and stoke demand. Nonetheless I suspect demand to be stronger than the company anticipates.