Tomorrow Google will unveil at a press conference, well, something. Most of the press and blog coverage surrounds the speculation that it will be about Google selling the Nexus One (running Android) directly from its site. This will likely be an unlocked handset. The reason this is big news in the US is a) it would mean Google selling hardware direct b) most handsets there are sold locked to a network. In Europe? Meh. You can easily get an unlocked handset, if you want to pay through the nose. But what few seem to have noticed is that this Nexus One is going to have to have some kind of network to, er, work. There’s speculation that it will be T-Mobile in the US.
But there is little speculation as yet about what Google might do with the Nexus One internationally. And with the mobile market booming in BRIC nations, for instance, why would Google ignore the rest of the world?
Which leads me to this speculation of my own: Would Google launch the Nexus One with a Google-branded SIM card?
You see, here’s the reasoning: SIM cards which work cross-boarder are now commonplace. There are many players globally, but two European players that spring to mind, especially in relation to Google, are MAXRoam and Truphone. Here’s why:
MAXRoam, run by ireland’s Cubic Telecom, allows you to make cheaper calls by leveraging two networks: Wi-Fi and GSM. Users phones simply switch to the cheapest network depending on where they are. You can make VOIP calls from a Wi-Fi hotspot from as low as 1 cent a minute using their SIM – or for free of course using the apps out there like Skype. Outside of hotspot range you can make and receive calls to anywhere in the world for as low as 15 cents a minute on any GSM network. MAXRoam has been putting these kinds of deals in place with carriers internationally for some time now. It even has its own shop where you can buy unlocked handsets, including unlocked iPhones.
Meanwhile, Truphone is an app which runs across several handsets now (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, 2nd Gen iPod Touch and over 25 different Nokia handsets). This similarly lets users make free and low cost international calls over the internet using their mobile phone. Back in 2008 Truphone bought Sim4travel, the roaming SIM card for low-cost international calls.
Now of course, I could be completely wrong and Google may not indeed offer any kind of SIM package. We’ll have to find out. And offering a SIM might well put Google at odds with the mobile carriers it is trying to woo over to the Android platform.
However, it seems there may be little to stop it partnering with, or perhaps even acquiring a company that can globally distribute SIMs which make the Nexus One experience even better.
Let us know what you think in the comments.