You may recall last week that ROCCO HQ reported on Permanent Roaming and the initiative to serve domestic customers with a permanent roaming sim from another country. Here’s a solution in practice as reported by Ars Technica.
A new UK mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), Anywhere SIM, is hoping to solve the age-old problem of dropped calls and poor signal. The company is selling a SIM card that can connect to three of the UK’s nationwide cellular networks, automatically switching to whichever network has the strongest signal.
Lancashire-based Anywhere SIM is essentially offering a national roaming mobile service, something that the big UK networks strongly opposed back when the UK government proposed the idea last year. At the time, the networks instead opted to pump £5 billion into the UK’s mobile infrastructure, promising 90 percent basic coverage by by 2017.
Anywhere SIM skirts around the problem by partnering with Manx Telecom, which operates from the Isle of Man. Manx Telecom not only has a MVNO agreement with O2—allowing it to offer a proper UK number—but also has roaming agreements with Vodafone and EE, as well as a variety of European networks. If you use Anywhere SIM, you’re essentially roaming all the time, whether you’re in Europe or the UK.
It’s a neat idea, but it comes at a cost. Anywhere SIM’s top PAYG package—”Anywhere EU”—covers almost 30 countries, including France, Germany and Spain, and costs 12p per minute for calls, 5p per SMS, and 10p per MB of 3G data. What it doesn’t offer, however, is any kind of bundling deals on calls, texts, or data for regular top-ups—something that nearly all its rivals do.
You can bring the cost down a little if you’re not into EU roaming by opting for the “Anywhere UK” service, which drops the call cost down to 10p per minute. The “Anywhere Home” has the cheapest rates of all at 5p per minute for texts, calls, and per MB of data, but you can only use it in the UK, and you can only make calls with O2. You can, however, receive texts and calls using O2, EE, or Vodafone.
According to Engadget, Anywhere SIM is focusing its current efforts on low-usage groups like over-65s, European travellers, and older holidaymakers, rather than conventional £40-per-month contract types. For those low-usage groups, a network that never has trouble with signal could be appealing. The big caveat to the service is that calls won’t automatically switch from one network to another if you drop out of a coverage area, nor does it support 4G.
Still, Anywhere SIM is worth keeping an eye on, particularly as it’s promising to launch a pay-monthly service, as well as offer devices in the coming months. Its only real rival is Jump, which offers a similar national roaming service, but only to business customers.
Andrews & Arnold, an independent UK telco, e-mailed us to say that it offers a similar service. The A&A version uses an O2 SIM that switches to an alternate identity (Dutch Vodafone) when O2 isn’t available, so that it then effectively “roams” onto other UK networks that have a deal with Dutch Vodafone.
Source: Ars Technica