Google plans to launch its own wireless service this year. The company has tried to temper expectations by describing it as a small scale experiment aimed at finding ways for WiFi and cellular networks to work together seamlessly. But when the company that designs the software that runs on most of the world’s smartphones starts to talk about entering the wireless service space, people take notice.
So far Google hasn’t had much to say about it’s plans… but it’s possible that an Android app discovered in leaked firmware for the Google Nexus 6 smartphone might provide an awful lot of clues.
The folks at Android Police have dissected that app to see what secrets it holds.
The app in question has a file name Tycho and seems to be for something called Project Fi. It’s likely that Google’s actual wireless service will be called something else, but there’s a nice little logo to go with the code-name Project Fi.
While it’s possible the app is some sort of elaborate hoax, or that it includes code for features that will not actually be part of the service, here are some of the things the app tells us (if it’s real):
- Google will let you choose how much data you want per month, and you’ll get a refund at the month for unused data.
- Go over your allowance? The price per gigabyte for overages is the same as if you had just signed up for a plan with more data in the first place.
- Phone calls and text messages to US numbers are free. There are “low rates” for international calls, and there are provisions for international roaming.
- You can have more than one line on your account, and there are also data-only options if you want to add a tablet to your phone plan, for example.
- Have multiple phones? You can switch primary devices with the press of a button: no SIM card switching required.
- Google’s wireless service will most likely be using Sprint and T-Mobile’s networks.
You’ll be able to pay your bill and manage your account from your phone using the “Tycho” app. And while it’s not yet clear if the rumors that the service would only be available to Nexus 6 users are true, the Nexus 6 is the only phone mentioned by name within the app’s code (there’s an option to buy a Nexus 6 and pay for it over time through monthly financing).
You can find more details (and analysis) at Android Police.