Report: Google Planning Overseas Roaming Shake-Up

Google is reportedly talking with operator Hutchison Whampoa about a deal to allow Americans to roam onto international mobile networks for no extra charge.

UK paper The Daily Telegraph reports that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) wants to create "a global network that will cost the same to use for calls, texts and data no matter where a customer is located." Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (Hong Kong: 0013; Pink Sheets: HUWHY) owns the Three UK network in the UK and just announced it's spending $15.2 billion to acquire the O2 brand from Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF). (See Telefónica Seals $15.2B O2 Sale to Hutchison.)

It appears the way that Google will achieve its aim is by inking deals with carriers round the world. The search giant is said to be working with Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile US Inc. on a deal to run a Google-branded service in the US. (See Verizon Ready for Google MVNO Challenge.)

For more on mobile networks, check out the LTE channel here on Light Reading.

Google more or less confirmed it has some wireless ambitions at last month's Mobile World Congress, but said that its wireless plans are so far pretty limited. As Light Reading has reported though, the company is definitely examining ways to move customers between cable, WiFi and cellular networks. (See Google Confirms Scaled-Down MVNO Plans and Google Searching for 5G Wireless Engineer.)

If Google does try to break the model of high international charges, however, this could be disruptive for AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ).

Google is not the first company to try and shake up the global roaming market. T-Mobile significantly dropped its international roaming fees on calls and texts in many countries in 2013, although the reported Google plans appear to go even further. (See Bills Don't Lie: T-Mobile Drops International Roaming Charges.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

DHagar 4/6/2015 | 9:01:56 PM
Google Roaming Shake-Up Dan, sounds like a great move on Google's part.  If they can command the platform and deliver the connections with regional carriers, it sounds like an appealing proposition - and one that could prove profitable and sustainable.

That clearly would "disrupt" the market.  It almost appears inevitable that the services would evolve into either larger networks or platforms (ie Google) that extend the markets.  If anyone can do it, Google can.  (PS - and aren't they hiring that top-notch CFO from Wall Street?)

Sign In