New app provides free roaming charges for travellers

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by sobore, Mar 30, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.canoe.ca/Travel/News/2013/03/27/20690811-relaxnews.html

    Globetrotters who've had the misfortune of being hit with sky-high phone bills after forgetting to turn off their data roaming may want to learn more about a new app that allows users to make phone calls as though they were at home.

    Called i-Mobb, the new app provides free roaming in foreign countries among smartphone, tablet and iPod Touch users by assigning members a domestic phone number in the country they're visiting.
    The app also allows users to place unlimited calls back to their home country.

    Once the user has selected their home country and their travel destination, i-Mobb sends back an email with a new local number, access to a local voicemail inbox and download instructions.
    To begin the process, users are to enable call forwarding to their newly assigned number. The service requires a wifi connection.

    The developers, meanwhile, claim their app differs from other plans which require long-term commitments: i-Mobb offers plans as short as one week and as long as one month, ideal for travelers.
    Users in the US pay $10 USD for a week, and $25 for a month.

    The service is available in eight countries: USA, Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Canada, Japan, and the Netherlands.

    Read More: http://www.canoe.ca/Travel/News/2013/03/27/20690811-relaxnews.html
     
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  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I think i'll just stick with Skype.
     
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  3. Great find, thanks. The robber barons at Bell , Rogers and Telus in Canada will be trying to find ways to shut this down if too many people get wind of it.,
     
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  4. Skype is fine when you are in wi-fi zones but this service lets you phone from wherever you are. I use skype also
     
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  5. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Did you miss this part of the OP?

    "The service requires a wifi connection."
     
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  6. I did miss that and should not have. Wi-fi connections are a must obviously.
     
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  7. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    No advantage over Skype at all. What would be nice is an app that allows one to roam for free while not connected to a Wi-Fi. However, because it would deprive telecom companies of a way to make loads of money by charging ludicrously high rates for roaming, such an app will probably not happen, or if it did, one of the telecom companies would quickly buy it and bury it (or charge a monthly fee for it as an "optional" feature of their calling plan)
     
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  8. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Technically impossible.
     
  9. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    What is "technically impossible"? If it is the app, then it has already been made and it is called Skype. Verizon used to block Skype in the US until some time in 2010 when they allowed it in their 3G network. Now, most phones (including my DROID4) supplied with a Verizon calling plan come with Skype pre-installed, and when one wishes to make an international call from the US, the phone asks if one wishes to use Skype to make the call. As soon as one leaves the US soil for a roaming area, Skype is disabled...so, I am not sure what is "technically impossible". Telecoms going along with allowing Skype for free over 3G or 4G network? That could be impossible, but it has little to do with technical capability...
     
  10. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    An app that allows you to roam for free. You cannot write an app that uses the cellular data service without the carrier knowing about the traffic (and thus charging for it if that's what they want).
     
  11. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Basically what I said. The telecoms must be in on the deal, which they won't. Skype is a vivid example.
     
  12. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Correct, they have no incentive. The way to get "free" roaming is through contracts. My company pays something in the order of $20/month for unlimited global roaming data service per device. It works very well for me.
     
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  13. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    That seems like a pretty darn good deal, global roaming for $20 per month.
     
  14. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I have a global phone that I simply activate on my way out of the country, purchasing a small data/multimedia package for times when I am not near a Wi-Fi hot spot, with all features that incur a charge during roaming turned off most of the time. I almost always make calls to the US from my hotel room using Skype on my laptop for which I pay a monthly fee to be able to make calls to landlines almost for free since the rates are very low, especially in comparison to roaming.
     
  15. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Two things:

    - it's for data roaming only (doesn't matter to me)
    - it's an add-on to the regular data plan. No idea what we pay for that, but presumably less than the publicly available plans.

    It can be turned on and off as needed, but I don't bother with that since I am abroad often enough that the hassle of having it added and removed (incl. management approval) is probably more costly than $20 for a month when I am not abroad.
     
  16. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    I just checked my phone's usage tracker. On my most recent trip (about 10 days) I used nearly 450 MB of data. I suspect a lot of it is from Google Maps (we were driving all over the UAE). I do use WiFi when available and generally try not to abuse the unlimited data service (no streaming video or audio, generally, just because it's free) as it really makes my travel life a lot easier and I'd hate to lose it. My hope is that one of these days these roaming plans become publicly available.
     
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  17. Laptop Nomad

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    If someone needs to call me when I am overseas I use Kall8. I get the call, and I don't have incoming call fees. If I need to call the US I just use Skype. I would never pay for US data plan on overseas travel. Local sims are the way to go.
     
  18. thesterlingtraveler

    thesterlingtraveler Gold Member

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    I know of a company that offers a device that acts as a PAN (Personal Area Network that you can connect other devices to via wifi) that works in other countries. I think it's only like $10/day. This goes through the local telecom. Check it out. http://www.datapixy.com
     

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