At the Mobile World Congress in early March, Google made its intention of tip-toeing into the mobile carrier market known. For many, the mere prospect is exciting - after all, we see what Google has done for home Internet, with Google Fiber. By entering this market carefully, Google is merely testing the waters, but that doesn't mean that its impact can't be profound.
Here's a good example of what I mean: the company will be trying to make roaming charges a thing of the past. Anyone who travels outside of their home country should realize how huge that is. I learned the hard way many years ago about just how painful roaming charges are when crossing the border; I came home with a $400 phone bill. Now, when I travel to the U.S. (from Canada), I get a roaming card that costs me $4-per-day. But what about other countries? EU countries? Asia?
Flickr: Robert Scoble
In time, those could be covered for cheap or no costs as well. According to The Telegraph, Google is in talks with Hong Kong's Hutchison Whampoa, owner of the mobile operator Three. Ultimately, Google would like to create a network where its customers wouldn't have to even think of roaming. It'd become a matter of Google and its partners scratching each other's backs.
This all sounds good, but the unfortunate thing is that Google is being really modest about its ambitions here. It's as if it doesn't want to put too much emphasis on things just in case it decides to pull out and decide against being its own carrier. Given what Google's capable of, though, I hope that this begins out small but turns into something massive.