Google's bid to connect everyone to the Internet may have it entering the wireless service business.
The company is looking at building cellular networks and offering service to emerging markets such as sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, according to The Wall Street Journal. Citing anonymous sources, WSJ reported that the networks would be available outside of big cities, where service is spotty or not available. Google is reportedly working with local companies on a possible deployment and thinking up business models to support the networks.
Google is also looking at building low-cost phones using its Android operating system, considering a satellite-based wireless system, and testing the use of different kind of wireless frequencies, according to the WSJ. The company is looking at different technologies and possible deployments, and may use a combination to deliver wireless service.
Google declined to comment on the report.
Google wants everyone around the world connected to a high-speed wireless service in the hopes that they will all use its services. The wireless network initiative is just another extension of the fiber-optic deployments it has made in select cities in the U.S.
In emerging markets, it isn't practical to build physical fiber networks to deliver Internet service. Most overseas countries that don't have an established landline infrastructure opt to skip it entirely and focus on the mobile networks, which are easier and less costly to deploy. For many people in these regions, the cellphone is their primary means of communications and Web access.
Such a plan marks the continued evolution of Google from a simple online search engine to a company that builds phones through its Motorola unit, offers software such as Android and Chrome, makes hardware such as the Chromebook, develops next-gen tech like Google Glass, and provides the Internet service Google Fiber.