Posted May 21, 2007 9:50 am by with 1 comment

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How can you not trust any rumor that starts with: “We’ve heard from a good source…”?

TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington is “Mr. Reputation”, when it comes to technology, so you know he’s confident about rumors that Google will enter the UK wireless industry, if he puts them on his blog.

…Google may be preparing to launch its own branded mobile network in the UK in the next few weeks. If our source is accurate, Google will become a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) via a deal with UK mobile phone company O2.

We’re hearing that there will be no physical stores for the service, and that signups and customer service will be provided exclusively via a website. A number of Nokia handsets will be offered, all pre-loaded with Google mobile software.

As Arrington points out, MVNOs are very hard to get off the ground. However, the ones that do well, tend to focus on the “identity” associated with using their network. For example, both Virgin Mobile (UK) and Helio (US) have positioned themselves as the network for the “hip and trendy”, and have consequently done well. If Google is indeed planning a similar move, is there any doubt that its brand is “cool” enough to make it a success?

  • That would be quite exciting to watch. The successful MVNOs have managed to make their mark thanks to the strength of their brands prior to entering the mobile market. Whether Google will manage to make a mark this way will be fun to watch.