Google Inc. is set to unveil its new U.S. wireless service as early as Wednesday, pushing the Internet giant further into telecom and injecting fresh uncertainty into a wireless industry already locked in a price war.
In a key development, the service is expected to allow customers to pay only for the amount of data they actually use each month, people familiar with the matter said—a move that could further push carriers to do away with lucrative “breakage.”
Many traditional wireless plans require subscribers to pay for buckets of data that expire at the end of each month. A 2013 study by a company called Validas, which analyzes consumers’ bills to help them choose the right plan, says smartphone users typically waste $28 each month on unused data.
But the practice is coming under pressure. Upstarts including Republic Wireless and Scratch Wireless have offered usage based models, and even major carriers like T-Mobile US Inc. and AT&T Inc. have allowed subscribers to roll over data.
Google’s service will run on the networks of Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile, which have agreed to carry the traffic, people familiar with the matter have said. The service initially will work only on Google’s latest Nexus 6 phones, and the devices will dynamically be able to switch between Sprint and T-Mobile networks depending on which carrier has the strongest signal.
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