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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Global gets local

This IS disruptive innovation….

Global travelers have been consistently gouged by telco carriers (like AT&T, T-Mobile, Vodafone and others) when they make or get calls on their mobile phones by way of steep roaming charges. Fearing that travelers normally use a calling card, but then nobody knows how to reach them. Now that bastion is set to change soon.

Early next month, a small company called Cubic Telecom will release what it’s calling the first global mobile phone. You can have upto 50 local numbers so that your customer in London can dial your local London Number (at the cost of a local call) and your Cubic phone will ring in Bombay. What I like about it is I can just slip in the $40 SIM card they give inside our existing GSM phone (including iPhone in place of AT&T card) and roam anywhere in the world. There are several other features that you can find in the NYT story here.

David Pogue who ran the story says "If nothing else, this ingenious melding of the cellphone and the Internet should strike fear into the hearts of the giant corporations that are currently bleeding travelers dry. This is how the last great overpriced pre-Internet racket will end: not with a bang, but with a SIM card.
You should know going in, too, that the company responsible for tearing down this bastion of outrageous roaming rates is a little group of 13 people in Ireland, with vast experience in calling cards but none in cellphone sales. Its plans are ambitious, disruptive — and incomplete. Several pieces of its system have yet to be slipped into place, including tech support, customer service, documentation, Internet data plans and domestic calling rates. But what the heck—here’s a $140 phone, or a $40 SIM card, that can save you thousands of dollars a year. Depending on how many international calls you make, it could pay for itself in a week or a month".

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