Sure, they claim that GSM calls are up to 80 per cent cheaper than the roaming rates offered by existing mobile service providers. But that's a usual claim which you can also hear from competing companies such as United Mobile. I would like to compare the prices by myself.
At least Alec Saunders got some numbers from Cubic Telecom's CEO Pat Phelan when they talked one day after TC40:
Calls from one Cubic subscriber to another are free when used in a hotspot. They also come with a MaxRoam SIM with 5 euros of credit. That's the kicker, frankly. The MaxRoam LD rates will make anyone turn their head sharply… for instance, calls in Canada cost .0063 euros. In the US, .0131 euros. In the UK… .011 euros. In addition, you can get a local number wherever you're going, so that when you travel others can call you cheaply as well.
Sounds great, but for which kind of calls do these costs apply? I guess that's just the WiFI rates since the San Francisco Chronicle writes:
You just slip the MAXRoam SIM into your unlocked GSM phone when you travel and then when you make phone calls abroad, it comes out to about 15 cents per minute, thanks to global roaming agreements that Cubic has worked out with operators around the world.
15 Cent is a great price, whether in euro or in dollar, and undercuts for instance United Mobile with its funny mobile numbers from Liechtenstein or Jersey by nearly 50 per cent. Only I would like to see where this rate applies. And why does VentureBeat write that Maxroam "will provide cell phone users with a SIM card that enables global calling for rates between 20 and 30 cents a minute in more than 160 countries"? That's a price difference of up to 100 per cent in two articles from the same day.
Still it's a great idea that Maxroam works also in Wifi hotspots where you don't have to pay two digit cent prices per minutes, but probably about one cent to most countries. Also these prices are not yet published, but I guess that's what Alec Saunders wrote about. The Wifi prices are of course great, but they have to be compared to the Wifi offers from Wifimobile and Truphone. Truphone calls to 40 countries are free until the end of the year, at Wifimobile you get the same for a flat rate price of $15.99 €11.99 £7.99 per month. In both cases you can use your existing cell phone number as caller ID, unless you are from the US or the UK, and don't have to bear the shame of these weird Liechtenstein, Iceland, Jersey, Estonia or the Isle of Man numbers. Wifimobile's new calltrough numbers in 11 countries even let you place calls outside a Wifi area.
Which brings me to Cubic Telecom's most interesting feature to slash roaming costs: Consumers get a single phone number, but can create multiple permanent local numbers for themselves - up to 50 - anywhere around the globe. All calls are forwarded to their Cubic Mobile phone, no matter where the calls originate, at the best rates for the callers. That's a cool idea, but Cubic Telecom is not the first to offer it. Local numbers for global SIMs are the new trend, I wrote two months ago. The German company GlobalSIM started already in july to give local fixed line numbers from 43 countries to their SIM card customers.
Like Nokia, whose Executive VP & General Manager of Multimedia Anssi Vanjoki recently said that they "copy with pride" from the iPhone, Cubic Telecom has taken all these available features and squashed them into one product. That's a real accomplishment. They even took an existing phone and and made media like FierceVoip or the San Francisco Chronicle call it the "Cubic Mobile Phone". Although it's the known Pirelli DualPhone DP-L10 which the German VoIP provider Sipgate already sells since january.
But now, dear Pat, I would really like to know the prices per minute.