While startups across the world are doing their best to disrupt mobile networks with clever voice call apps, like Viber, there remains the basic issues of actual voice and data access which still requires some chipping away at. It’s a particular issue in places like Europe where you can drive for only a couple of hours and cross two or even three borders and see your mobile roaming bill spin up or down like a yo-yo. For the past few years we’ve seen players like Truphone and Maxroam attempt to gnaw away at the telcos, but now Maxroam is going one further, launching a virtual network operator of its own.
Maxroam’s company, Cubic Telecom, has signed a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) agreement which means Cubic’s global customers can use voice, text and data while in the UK using the Vodafone UK network. So, Cubic customers living in the UK get to use the Vodafone network and local rates plus Maxroam’s competitive roaming rates in 230 countries on one SIM Card on a prepaid account you can top up.
This enables Maxroam users to be treated as if they are using calls and data as locals, using Cubic Telecom’s IMSI technology.
Vodafone was the first mobile network in the UK many years ago, and Maxroam is only its tenth partnership.
And if you’re wondering if the SIMs fit into an iPad/iPhone/Android you’ll be glad to know they can, as they are adaptable as normal or micro SIMs (see image).
Does all that mean it’s competitive with Vodafone’s rates? Hard to say with the massive variety of packages they offer, but here’s Cubic’s:
250MB for £5.02
500MB for £8.36
1GB for £15.05
13p locally per minute and 13p to other countries.
Founder Pat Phelan tells me “Lots more MVNO”s are coming. We are looking at the global picture.” He says The Olympics are a big marketing moment for Maxroam.