Google mobile network launches in Spain...kind of
Ladies and gentleman take a closer look. Yes, it's time for the mobile networks to start panicking - this is a Google SIM card for the search giant's own mobile network.
Mobile virtual network actually, as Google has entered the MVNO game in Spain. Not commercially, but for employees to test Google features such as Google Voice on their Nexus S handsets.
An MVNO, in case you didn't know, is a network that isn't actually a network as such. It buys data, voice and messaging allowances off of the actual carriers and piggybacks their networks to provide a service to its customers.
In the UK we have several MVNOs including Virgin Mobile which uses T-Mobile's network and Tesco Mobile that teams up with O2.
Whilst purely for cost measures in terms of testing, Google's Spanish inquisition certainly throws up a number of interesting points, especially as it's expected to undergo further MVNO work in other European countries.
Its first branded phone, the Nexus One, was released via an online portal only. A subsidised T-Mobile deal was available but it wasn't available in the network's stores for around 6 months.
Although the online store was short lived, it was obvious that the Big G had hardware distribution plans of its own, and didn't want to play nicely with the network status quo.
A move into operating its own network would certainly open up a few doors for the company and, given the amount of voice based services that seem to be coming out of Mountain View, would make sense commercially as well.
Watch this space is almost an understatement on this one...