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PostHeaderIcon Global Roaming Pain Eased By Callback Service

The exorbitant cost of both making and receiving calls on your mobile phone overseas is well known, but an Aussie company has come up with a solution claimed to cut the cost of making calls by up to 80 percent.

For example, it says calls to Australia from almost anywhere in Europe will cost $A0.99 per minute. This is well below the rates identified by KPMG in a recent study commissioned by the Australian Government as part of a Parliamentary enquiry into international mobile roaming charges .

According to the KPMG study, roaming costs for holders of European Union (EU) SIM calling the Asia–Pacific including Australia, are some of the worlds' most expensive, an average of $4.54 per minute KPMG found that calls to Australia from Australian SIMs where generally between $A2 and $A3 per minute.

The product, GlobalSIM, from BackChat Mobile is a prepaid service which comes with a SIM card with a UK number. To make calls, users simply dial the number they want to call and hang up. After a short pause their phone will ring and when they answer it they will be connected to the called party.

The product will be sold for $49 with $15 worth of calls or $99 with $75 worth of calls. Call balances can be viewed and topped up online. Incoming calls incur no charge in 50 countries.

BackChat Mobile founder, Danny Nathanson, has been offering a similar service and a number of other mobile roaming options for a number of years through another company vRoam.

He told iTWire that vRoam's primary focus was the business market - its main offering is SIM cards for use on specific overseas networks in the traveller's' destination - and that BackChat Mobile was a separate company with different shareholders set up to market GlobalSIM, and future enhancements of the product, to the individual traveller.

"As of next week vRoam will effectively become an agent for the BackChat GlobalSIM service," he said. "The vRoam branding was getting confused between corporate and leisure travellers and will now be retargeted to the corporate market."

GlobalSIM will be sold through channels with access to the travel market, such as travel agencies.

GlobalSIM is provided by BackChat Mobile through wholesale access to an underlying service, and heavily customising it. "Although it is a UK SIM, we control all the functionality in Australia," Nathanson said. "We set the rates and charge in Australian dollars. It means we can focus on the primary calls that people make from overseas -that is, calls back to Australia. So for example calling to Australia from almost the whole of Europe is 99 cents per minute.

Nathanson added that BackChat Mobile was hoping to extend the GlobalSIM product to include a data roaming service next year.