Google, which is developing its own wireless service, will reportedly offer its future phone customers international roaming at no additional cost to their plans, according to The Telegraph.
Citing “industry sources,” The Telegraph reports that Google is in talks to partner with Hutchison Whampoa, the owner of British wireless carrier Three, to provide Americans with free roaming wherever there is a Three network, which includes the UK, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Australia, and a number of other countries. It’s unclear if Google would strike similar deals with other companies to offer truly global coverage.
Three declined to comment on the report. Google did not respond to Quartz’s request for comment.
Google’s reported plan could potentially solve one of the biggest headaches of traveling abroad. Under most standard wireless plans, when you travel outside the range of your home network, your phone picks up a foreign network, at the extreme detriment of your wallet (unless you have airplane mode enabled).
And in many cases, wireless plans are not all that clear about what services they provide and where. Travelers, especially those who don’t often venture outside their home country, can return home to find inordinate charges on their cellular bill because their phones picked up a new network while abroad. It’s an avoidable problem, to be sure, but one that could be revamped to make the user experience more intuitive, seamless, and affordable. Most mobile carriers in the US offer packages that include international roaming, but they’re usually quite expensive.