Google’s wireless plan could offer free international roaming: report

The Google logo is pictured at a store in Hialeah, Fla.
The Google logo is pictured at a store in Hialeah, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Alan Diaz

TORONTO – Google is reportedly in talks with UK telecom provider Three to secure a deal that would provide Google’s American wireless subscribers with free international roaming.

According to a report by The Telegraph – which cites “industry sources” – the tech giant is in talks with Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa, which operates Three and several other mobile networks across Europe and Asia.

Google confirmed it was working on its own cellular network plan in March, however the company has been tight-lipped about the details.

Vice-President Sundar Pichai said Google is working with unnamed network operators on developing a cellular plan. Pichai called Google’s plan to offer cellular services “a project” and insists that the Internet giant is not a threat to traditional telephone and Internet service providers.

But, Google will rely on wholesale deals and use existing infrastructure both in the U.S. and abroad to create its service.

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According to The Telegraph’s source, this makes Hutchison Whampoa “a natural partner” for Google.

Google has not commented on the report.

It’s unclear whether Google’s cellular network would be made available to Canadian consumers – it appears the service will only be available to U.S. consumers at first.

“Sources said Google has no plans to offer a mobile network to British consumers and is unlikely to for the foreseeable future. The European telecoms market is relatively competitive and roaming charges are already on their way to being abolished by regulators,” read The Telegraph’s report.

Similarly, Google’s ultra-fast Internet service Google Fiber is an all-American project – the company has no plans to bring the service north of the border so far.