Starting today, you can say goodbye to massive roaming bill and loan shark data rates while traveling. Cubic Telecom is launching a new “multi IMSI” SIM card today that gives you local plans and local rates globally, allowing you to connect wherever you are without the fear of huge bills when you get home.
“We treat our SIM card differently than any other company … we treat it as an operating system,” CEO Barrier Napier told me from Ireland. “You power your device on, it locates where it is, and it reports to a local carrier as a local number.”
Cubic Telecom is launching the new capability first as an embedded solution in select HP laptops and tablets, as well as in some Google Chromebooks. An embedded solution for Windows is coming in December, there’s an OEM solution available now for iOS and Android, and you will also be able to buy after-market SIMs for iOS and Android devices in late December or early January, Napier told me.
“Our solution gives travelers between 60 and 80 percent savings,” Napier says. “In mainland Europe … we’re keeping the cost under the price of a bottle of water per day.”
There is a downside.
Cubic is focusing on data, which is generally the most expensive mobile product while roaming. While some of the company’s other offerings also offer voice and SMS services, this new embedded SIM offering is initially focused on tablets and laptops and is therefore data-centric.
Still, for those who travel frequently and need access to data wherever they go, Cubic offers a simple solution. Top up one wallet once and use up your data dollars efficiently and simply without having to buy SIM cards wherever you go, or try to arrange international packages with your carrier in the last few days before your trip.
“We’ve taken away the headache of a post-paid account,” Napier says.
The company has agreements with China Unicom, T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, Orange, and 15 other global carriers, providing strong coverage in Asia, North America, and Europe. More agreements are coming soon to span the entire globe.
It’s taken about four years to get the company’s “multi-IMSI” technology right, Napier told me. And more time to negotiate local deals with carriers in all the various countries and regions. The solution is not disruptive to carriers, he believes — even though it might cost them some money with a few heavy users — because it has the potential to turn every traveler into a local carrier data customer.
With the high prices you see today, that’s just not happening, and carriers are missing out on potential revenue.