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Tuesday, 04 December 2012 05:10

At last affordable international data roaming: $25 for 1GB!


UK-based Globalgig has launched an international data roaming service - available initially only in the UK, US and Australia - for which users pay rates comparable to domestic data.

The service is available via a pocket hotspot costing $129 that comes with a Globalgig SIM. Users then pay $25 per month for 2GB, $39 for 3GB or $49 for 5GB regardless of which of the three countries they use the hotspot in.

The service is charged on a month-by-month contract. Excess data is charged at five cents per MB. Users receive warning notices at 50, 85 and 100 percent of usage.

This compares to Telstra's casual rate for users roamed to the US and UK of $15.36 per MB, and $1800 per month for a data pack with an included 1GB.

The Globalgig service uses the Optus network in Australia, 3 in the UK and the Sprint CDMA network in the US. Data speed is a maximum of 7.2Mbps downstream.

James Boardman, Globalgig's general manager for Australia and New Zealand, told iTWire: "We are an MVNO in Australia with Optus, with Sprint in the US and with 3 in the UK and what we do is to aggregate the MVNO agreements to present to you a global roaming solution in those three countries for data."

Globalgig says it hopes to expand the offering to key European Union markets and other large global travel hubs over the next 12 months. The company also has plans to launch a voice service that, it says "will offer cheap call bundles abroad with the ability to maintain live existing and local numbers."

Boardman said: "The business plan calls for us to rollout in another 10 countries next year and a total of 30 by the end of 2014. When we add another country we will send you a new SIM card."

In Australia the product is being distributed through direct retail organisation the Direct Group, originally part of mobile service provider Mobile Innovations (the telco arm morphed into VoIP provider engin in 2005).

"They are the largest direct B to C player in Australia with the Innovations catalogue," Boardman said. "They also run TVSM, the 24 hour shopping channel that is available on both Foxtel and free to air TV."

The product will also be sold direct to the corporate market. Globalgig has appointed Matt Farmer as sales manager. "Matt has spoken to numerous corporates and the response has been very positive," Boardman said.

Farmer added: "by its nature the device enable companies to have a fleet of them that they can hand out to travellers. It is addressing one of the major pain points and there is not one door that has been closed to us."

Globalgig has a web site through which the product can be ordered. (www.globalgig.com.au) It is also available from Amazon.co.uk.

The company behind Globalgig is UK based Voiamo Group, founded in 2007 to develop the product. Boardman said that the global financial crisis had delayed the company's launch plans. "We have been developing the technical solution for the past year. Prior to that we had MVNO agreements in place but the capital markets had dried up."

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