Tag: vodafone

MaxRoam Launch today

MaxRoam was launched today by Pat Phelan’s Cubic Telecom.

MaxRoam initially offers a sim card for your mobile phone which you use when roaming. The sim card costs €29.99. You can add multiple numbers to the sim card so that, if you live in Ireland, for instance but visit Spain frequently, you can have Irish and Spanish numbers mapped to the phone. You give the Irish number to your Irish contacts and the Spanish number to your Spanish contacts and everyone is making low cost calls.

This is great. €29.99 is about 1/10th of my last Vodafone bill when I was abroad!

Where it is even more impressive though is when you are in Spain (again, for example), receiving calls, the cost is far lower than receiving calls using your standard mobile operator.

Consider the Spanish MaxRoam charges
MAXroam pricing for Spain

Now compare them to the Vodafone costs (I choose Vodafone as they are my mobile operator)
Vodafone pricing for Spain

If I send or receive texts in Spain on Vodafone’s network they charge me 49c (on any other Spanish network they charge me 65c). With MaxRoam receiving texts in Spain is free and sending texts on any network is 37c.

Call charges with MaxRoam are similarly cheaper. Receiving a call is 25c (per minute, I assume), making a call is 33c p/m. Vodafone charge 29c p/m to receive call, 59c p/m to call within the EU €1.19 p/m for calls to the Americas and an eye-watering €3.19 per minute for calls to the rest of the world.

I choose Spain for this example ‘cos I have family living in Spain and go there regularly but you will get similar numbers for other countries.

What I am not clear on is when you are in another country, are you locked to a particular local mobile provider or will any work.

I know Pat well and while he’s a lovely guy, I know he’s not doing this out of the goodness of his heart. If Pat can charge these low rates and still make a profit, how much are the mobile operators coining in?

Whoop their asses Pat!

UPDATE – In Pat’s post about the launch he says:

What we will do is put YOU first, here’s my mobile +353872049121, if we leave YOU down in any way call me up and give me a piece of your mind.

And renowned Technology writer David Pogue gives MaxRoam a great write-up in the New York Times.

Now that’s impressive.

More rumours of O2 iPhone deal

Forbes Madrid are reporting this morning that O2’s parent company, Telefonica have signed an exclusive deal with Apple for iPhone distribution rights in the UK.

This is the second time this rumour has emerged in the last two weeks. Both times from very credible sources.

It makes sense. Vodafone don’t need Apple (and the sales boost iPhone exclusivity would give them) as much as O2 does. This deal obviously doesn’t stop Apple signing deals with Vodafone in other European countries.

I’ll be interested to see who gets distributorship in Ireland!

Would you pay to receive a phone call from me?

In a follow up to my post the other day on Jahjah, I spoke to Greg Spector, Chief Marketing Officer of Rebtel today and he explained Rebtel’s model to me in great detail.

There are a number of differences between the two services, the main one being Jahjah requires a software download to work on your mobile. Rebtel has no such requirement.

In essence, what you do with Rebtel’s service is register your numbers (mobile, landline, etc.) on their site, register the numbers of people you want to contact who are living abroad, Rebtel then generates local numbers for you and your contacts. You call your contact and instruct them to hang up and call you back on the local number you just appeared to call them from – then Rebtel connects the two local calls at no charge (other than the $1 per month you pay Rebtel and the local call charges).

The biggest issue I see with this service is, as I pointed out in the title of this post, why would anyone want to pay to receive a call from me? The cost may be minimal, but it takes a hell of a cheek to call someone and tell them to call you back. Unless you know they desperately want to hear from you or they are close enough family that they don’t mind paying for calls from you.

This model may not present problems in the US where people with mobile phones already pay to receive phone calls and have large voice plans for very little outlay (Cingular, for example, on its Nation 900 w/Rollover plan offers 900 minutes per month for $59.99) so effectively they have free outgoing calls.

Compare that to the situation in Europe where on my Vodafone plan, for instance, I pay €49 per month and get 200 minutes. In a situation where I don’t pay to receive calls and outgoing calls are expensive, it takes a bit of neck to ring someone and ask them to call you back even on a local number, unless you know them very well.