Google’s new Project Fi – the Chocolate Factory's attempt to square up to mobile carriers – has a relatively surprising big fan: none other than EU digi commish Gunther H. Oettinger.
After the ad flinger's low-fi launch of Fi on Wednesday, Oetti, who has in the past suggested taxing the hell out of Google, took to Twitter to say that “Google’s own mobile service Fi will have repercussions on the EU market. It is a clear signal for the Council to abolish roaming charges.”
It is not unlike Oettinger to use whatever means at his disposal to score political points – in this case to send a message to the council of national ministers to compromise in their negotiations on proposed Telecoms Single Market laws.
Oettinger (and the European Parliament) want to see expensive mobile roaming costs outlawed as soon as possible, but national representatives have been dragging their feet.
Oettinger sees Google’s project as a sign of things to come – certainly its limited roll-out in the US is not going to have European telcos quaking in fear just yet.
With Project Fi, Google has teamed up with operators T-Mobile and Sprint to offer what they say will be a seamless service between providers and Wi-Fi hotspots.
However, the real payoff for customers is the money-back guarantee for unused data capacity.
It may well be the shape of things to come, but despite Oetti’s hopes, is unlikely to cut much ice with ministers. ®