Google MVNO to offer free global roaming?

Google logoGoogle confirmed at Mobile World Congress last month that it was looking to launch its own MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) service. Google senior vice-president Sundar Pichai revealed little about the company’s plans though, promising only that additional information would be revealed in the coming months. Past rumours indicated that Google was in talks with a number of U.S. carriers including both Sprint and T-Mobile but a report by The Telegraph now suggests that Google’s ambitions may be more global.

Citing unnamed industry sources, the report claims that Google is in talks with Hutchison Whampoa, the owner of the mobile operator Three. Google is reportedly looking for an access agreement that would allow it to charge customers the same rate for calls, texts and data wherever they are in the world. Essentially, Google is looking to do away with roaming fees. As Hutchison Whampoa already offers its customers free roaming in the United States and other countries, the two companies certainly share similar philosophies on this topic.

Hutchison Whampoa, a Hong Kong conglomerate, operates networks in a number of countries in both Asia and Europe, including Hong Kong, Vietnam, Italy, Sweden, Austria and Ireland. Pending all the necessary approvals, it is also set to acquire O2 UK from Telefonica for £10.3 billion (about CA$19.1 billion or US$15.3 billion).

Google’s Sundar Pichai revealed that the company plans on operating its MVNO on “a smaller scale” in a bid to push new technologies out to customers. In fact, it could do so with a single device, the Google Nexus 6, if recent rumours are to be believed.

With Google I/O 2015 set for late May, perhaps we’ll find out more about the Google MVNO then.

Source : The Telegraph