In a post yesterday I discussed the disruptive potential of Google’s Project Nova. Having just discovered an article by Christopher Williams published last weekend in the UK’s Telegraph, I thought I should add an update on international aspects of Nova’s ambitions and potential impacts.
Williams reports that, according to industry sources, “Google is in talks towards a deal with Hutchison Whampoa, the owner of the mobile operator Three.” He also notes that “Google and Three declined to comment.”
The two giants are discussing a wholesale access agreement that would become an important part of Google’s planned attempt to shake-up the US mobile market with its own network. It is understood that Google aims to create a global network that will cost the same to use for calls, texts and data no matter where a customer is located. By linking up with Hutchison, it could gain wholesale access to mobile service in the UK, Ireland, Italy and several more countries where the Hong Kong conglomerate owns mobile networks. Sources said Hutchison was a natural partner for Google in the plan, because it has also sought to eliminate roaming charges for Three customers.
According to CNET:
Hutchison Whampoa would be a potentially powerful global partner to help Google cut roaming fees. It operates the UK’s Three network and is trying to acquire the UK’s O2 network from Telefonica. It also operates networks in Hong Kong, Macau, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Austria and Ireland.