Sundar Pichai Confirms MVNO Ambitions and Android Pay, Was Wearing an Unreleased Device Earlier

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Early this morning, Google’s Sundar Pichai sat down for a keynote address at Mobile World Congress to talk about a handful of new ideas that his company is working on. From Google Translate to Project Loon delivering LTE to Project Titan’s little planes taking over the skies, he touched on a bunch of interesting topics in an opening chat. He then transitioned into a Q&A session where he acknowledged the fact that Google is looking to enter the wireless game as an MVNO, and that Android Pay is a new API that is coming soon.

I can’t find a replay of the event, but The Verge has a transcription of the talk. 

When asked about Google being in talks to become an MVNO (sell wireless service on another carrier’s towers):

The core of Android is an ecosystem approach with partners, we’ve always tried to push the boundary of what’s next, we do that with hardware and software today (Nexus). For you to drive the next gen, you need to drive both, that’s why we do Nexus devices.

It’s a very small scale compared to the rest of the OEM industry, but it pushes the needle. I think we’re at the stage where we need to think of hardware, software, and connectivity together. Especially with things like watches. 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 fruit in the next few months.

On if companies like Verizon and AT&T will have a problem with this:

We’ve talked with them about all this, we’re working with some partners to do what we’re doing. Carriers in the US are what powers most of our Android phones and that model works really well for us.

On if this means lowering prices:

We’re trying to show innovations, like calls automatically reconnecting if someone drops on one end. Those are the kinds of ideas we’re pursuing with this project.

We want to break down the barriers on how connectivity works.

From there, the chat moved onto Android Pay, which was rumored at the end of last week. The idea with Android Pay is to push mobile payments forward like never before. Pichai notes the obvious, that your phone is always with you, so why couldn’t you use it to do more, like pay for everything? Android Pay is a new API layer in Android and a “platform approach” that uses NFC and maybe even something else he wouldn’t mention. He did say that this won’t compete with Samsung Pay, though.

Finally, during the interview, Sundar was asked why he wasn’t wearing an Android Wear device. As it turns out, he was wearing an unreleased product and needed to remove it before coming on stage. Any guesses?

Via:  The Verge



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