Last updated: 11:57 AM ET, Tue April 07 2015

Could Google Make Free International Roaming a Reality?

Travel Technology | Tom Bastek | April 07, 2015

Could Google Make Free International Roaming a Reality?

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock.

The Telegraph is reporting this week that there are talks going on right now between Google and Hutchison Whampoa, owner of the UK mobile carrier Three, on a deal to give Americans free international roaming while out of the country. 

Google has been planning a mobile network for a while now, not so much to rule the world as to just shake up the status quo of the current mobile market in the United States. Google is seeking to eliminate roaming charges and create universal rates no matter where a customer is located.  A wholesale access agreement between the two companies would give Google the chance to offer Americans the same rate for service in the UK, Ireland, Italy and several more countries where Hutchison Whampoa owns mobile networks.

Although Google keeps downplaying this as a “small scale” project quite like their Google Fiber plan, future demand may make a difference.  The Google Fiber plan is to bring high speed internet access to places throughout the country where investment has not been made by existing carriers to upgrade internet delivery speed services. This extremely affordable plan has internet users across the country salivating for Google Fiber in their hometown.

According to the article, Google has little plan to offer service to British consumers due to the fact that the rates in most European countries are relatively competitive and roaming charges are on their way to regulator termination. Hutchison Whampoa has already been seeking to end their customers' roaming charges so it makes for a nice fit for Google. In the U.S. on the other hand, mobile carriers enjoy much greater profit margins and with this initiative, analysts believe this will put pressure on the pricing of the major mobile operators. 

The big problem with anyone who has become attached to their phone is that this may not be available to anyone who does not possess a Nexus 6. The experiment that is the Google Mobile Network is only going to be launched on that one device as of right now. Or course, everything is subject to change.  

Still, having the ability to not have to figure out a way to make a call or send a text without incurring out of country fees or paying for a month of international service would be great.  One World, right?


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