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.)
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.)
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