Google Wireless May Offer Free International Roaming
While details about the plan are still relatively sparse, it seems as though Google’s plans for providing a new MVNO wireless service could include killing international roaming fees. The news comes by way of an article in the Telegraph published this past weekend.
According to the report, Google is working out a deal with a company called Hutchison Whampoa, which owns the wireless provider Three. Hutchison Whampoa, which operates wireless networks throughout the Ireland, Europe, and Asia, already allows its customers to travel to other territories and not suffer roaming charges. The company is currently working on acquiring another provider called O2, which could add UK to the mix. If Google can work out a deal with Hutchison Whampoa, there will be a clear wireless carrier choice for US customers who do a lot of international traveling.
There will be some downsides to going with Google’s plans for an MVNO, however—namely, that it’ll rely on the networks already established by Sprint and T-Mobile here in the US. Having two networks rather than just one is great—but they’re also the two wireless providers with the worst coverage in the country. On the other hand, Google’s efforts may induce T-Mobile and Sprint to work harder at expanding their networks, and ultimately it should motivate Verizon and AT&T to offer better pricing to its consumers.
International roaming fees are one of the worst parts of traveling abroad in general. Considering the fact that just about every inch of the world is connected by cellular towers in one way or another, there’s really no reason for consumers to have to pay more money just for using someone else’s service. It’s sort of like buying a soda from a vending machine, but being charged double because you’re visiting from another country. There’s no reason for it, and it’s one of the last ways that wireless companies milk their customers for free money.
Remember having to figure out “anytime minutes” and making sure you only called people who had wireless plans on your same network? All that stuff is gone, because companies started figuring out that offering unlimited talk, text, and data was a better way for consumers to get more out of their expensive plans. Google may help kill international roaming charges too.
The more we learn about Google’s MVNO plans, the more interested I get.
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