The Information previously reported that the project, codenamed 'Nova', is being led by Google executive Nick Fox. The launch is apparently set for this year and some employees have already tested it.
Now the WSJ is confirming that Google has reached separate agreements with each carrier, acquiring wholesale access to their networks.
Under separate agreements with each carrier, Google will resell service on the Sprint and T-Mobile networks, according to people familiar with the plans. Such wholesale agreements are common, essentially allowing sellers such as Google to pitch wireless service under their own brand names. Google’s entry into the mobile-phone business would create a new headache for an industry already struggling with a price war and soaring costs for wireless spectrum. Sprint executives are betting that the boost from an influx of new Google customers outweighs the risk that the Internet search giant will learn too much about the ins and outs of the wireless business.
Notably, Sprint has reportedly put a volume trigger into its contracts with Google that will allow them to renegotiate the deal if Google's customer base soars. Sprint executives were worried that they might be letting a rival into the gates.
In addition to these agreements with Sprint and T-Mobile, Google has also been lobbying the Federal Communications Commission to free up large amounts of low-quality wireless spectrum that could be used to provide cheaper wireless access. While carriers aren't interested in this spectrum because it can't transport wireless signal across long distances, it's thought that the spectrum could be used for a Google wireless offering. Perhaps data and calls could be routed over Wi-Fi and fall back to cellular if Wi-Fi is unavailable.
A few years ago there were rumors that Apple might do something similar; however, the company has yet to make any moves towards becoming a carrier. If Google does launch a wireless service, it will be interesting to see Apple's response. Please follow iClarified on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or RSS for updates.