Welcome, Google. The water’s fine. Andrew Moore-Crispin • January 22, 2015 if( has_post_thumbnail( $post_id ) ): ?> endif; ?> You may have heard that Google is stepping in to the mobile carrier game as a “mobile virtual network operator” or MVNO. They apparently plan to offer service on both the Sprint (CDMA) and the T-Mobile (GSM) networks. An Internet company that recognizes mobile as the platform for the next generation and so makes efforts to help people gain access. Sound familiar? We say welcome, Google, to the fray. There are more than enough disenfranchised customers of the major carriers to go around. With three years in the game, we’re available to chat—to hangout, as it were—but it seems only fair that you buy whatever drinks will be had when we do. Google is an innovator and brings its own brand of big-picture thinking and ideas. We’re looking forward to see what it comes up with. Google’s entry into the market will be the first a lot of people will hear about “MVNOs” as an alternative to the majors. Obscure no more There were certainly benefits to flying under the radar. That said, our recent honors in Consumer Reports’ wireless carriers survey, coverage in the press and a general groundswell of awareness on social media mean that the secret is already out. Google’s entry into this market just adds more legitimacy and, we sincerely hope, will help to dispel the myth that MVNO customers get second-rate service. What MVNOs really mean is more choice for customers and not being beholden to the major carriers’ plans. We said before, when announcing the Ting fiber Internet initiative that Google is a lot of great things but human scale isn’t one of them. There’s more than enough room for all of us to compete. Welcome, innovation To be clear, we have no idea how Google intends to package up its offering. Personally, I’d expect it to be a data-first idea, prioritizing Wi-Fi and using Hangouts and Google Voice as the backbone. That’s pure conjecture though. What passes for innovation from the major carriers is too often smoke and mirrors. That is to say marketing, but as I ultimately report to the VP of Marketing for Ting (who has a little something to say on this Google MVNO subject), we’ll just leave it at smoke and mirrors. Google has the clout to change the conversation on the main stage in a way that we current MVNOs have been doing on a smaller scale for years. We’ll out odds on our approach of putting customers in control of their devices and ultimately, their bills and of having real, human beings pick up the phone when it rings.