A few minutes ago Andy Abramson pulled his Nokia N95 out of his pocket here at ITEXPO and showed me something I’ve never seen – the carrier displayed was Truphone, not T-Mobile. Truphone has finally become a mobile carrier, and today launched the Truphone Local Anywhere SIM. The SIM is a smart, multi-country SIM that gives local calling rates anywhere in any “Truphone” country. So, for example, if I were to call Canada from the United States, the rate is just 10 cents per minute. All you need is an unlocked GSM phone.
According to the press release, Truphone Local Anywhere offers four benefits:
· Local calling rates in Truphone countries: With Truphone Local Anywhere, international travellers enjoy rates that are a fraction of standard roaming fees. For example, AT&T subscribers roaming in the U.K. pay between 99 cents and $1.29 per minute[i], depending on their calling plans, but from only 12 cents per minute with Truphone Local Rates
· Local contact numbers in Truphone countries: Local numbers mean people can call you on your mobile at local rates for them – at no cost to you.
· Low-cost international calling: Great rates to make international calls at home or abroad, offering savings of up to 90 percent over standard mobile operator charges.
· Low-cost roaming: Great rates when roaming in non-Truphone countries offering savings of up to 40 percent over standard mobile operator charges.
It sounds great, but currently the only Truphone countries are the US and the UK. Effectively, their very low rates are available only from within those two countries, but according to Truphone you pay “competitive” local roaming rates in countries outside the Truphone network. Data, unfortunately, is priced at roaming rates pretty much everywhere — $1/M.
Truphone Local Anywhere’s magic is accomplished through an MVNO relationship with Vodafone in the UK. According to company representatives, similar additional partnerships are in the works. Naturally, we Canadians are eager to know more.