Google is about to become its own wireless carrier

Something much more ambitious than Google Voice is coming.

Something much more ambitious than Google Voice is coming.

Pretty soon you’ll be able to buy a Nexus smartphone that works with Google’s own wireless network. The company is close to offering its own mobile phone plans directly to customers, a move that would allow Google to control the entire phone experience from top to bottom.

Google will reportedly run its network by buying spectrum from Sprint and T-Mobile, which would classify it was a Mobile Virtual Network Operator, or MVNO, according to a pair of reports.

“Codenamed ‘Nova,’ the project is led by longtime Google executive Nick Fox,” according to The Information. “A launch this year seems likely. Mr. Fox had previously looked at starting the service last fall, and some employees have already tested it.”

The Verge adds that Google already outspends telecoms on lobbying in Washington, so the move would make sense.

Google could use existing apps like Google Voice and Hangouts to offer unique pricing structures for data and minutes. With Google laying fiber-optic cable around the country and experimenting with Internet-equipped balloons, entering the wireless carrier market would be a natural next step.

Since they’re already sold directly by Google, Nexus devices would obviously run on project Nova. It’s unclear what other Android devices would support the service.