It appears that Google is reportedly discussing with the operator of the United Kingdom's Three and a number of other wireless networks to allow customers to use its mobile services completely free of charge while going abroad.
According to a report by the Telegraph, Google is reportedly hoping to offer its subscribers free use of its wireless services when visiting countries outside the United States, without having to pay for the expected roaming fees when going to international regions. The Telegraph further reported that the tech giant and Hong Kong based Hutchison Whampoa are in the middle of negotiations regarding Google's free international roaming services.
Hutchison Whampoa would be a formidable partner for Google, especially in finding a way to offer free international roaming. Hutchison Whampoa currently operates the UK's Three network, and is in the process of buying UK's O2 network from Telefonica. On top of that, Hutchison Whampoa also operates various networks in countries such as Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Ireland, Macau, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and of course, its home country Hong Kong.
International roaming fees are part and parcel of every wireless network service in any country or region, but can be a burden especially for users who like to travel either for business or for leisure. Even more so when the fees for international calls, text messaging, and web data seem exorbitant.
Still, other wireless carriers have begun to ease off or even do away with international roaming fees altogether. T-Mobile is an example, and has even used free international roaming as a device to grab away customers from its rival networks.
With Google joining in on the movement, we could see more wireless networks get rid of their international roaming fees, or at least, restructure their pricing for roaming charges, in the next few years. Of course, not many carriers will go that route -- after all, many of them have generated revenues for years by forging partnerships with carriers from other countries in facilitating international roaming services. But with Google's involvement, international roaming overall can no longer be as burdensome as they are now.
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