Monday, October 1, 2007

Cubic Telecom's Maxroam stirs up emotions

On tuesday, October 2nd 2007, Maxroam has fixed their rate calculator. It doesn't say anymore that you can call to wherever in the world for just €0.35 when roaming in Germany. Now different prices apply for each country.

After Maxroam went live last week and sold 573 SIM cards on the first day, a big discussion broke out that you could also follow in the comments to my blog. People couldn't believe that when roaming in Germany you can call to wherever in the world for just €0.35. It sounds too good to be true. An anonymous poster even said:
Pat. If you are reading this please fix your rate calculator. If its correct than I will sign up but I promise you that you are going to lose a lot of money from me since I will be calling cuba for several hours a day and I know that there is no way you can cover the termination charges if you charge me based on the website. I work in the telecom industry and know what is and is not real. Please get of the correct rates.

But today the Maxroam rate calculator still says the same: €0.35 to wherever. I cannot verify the real rates either since I don't have a Maxroam SIM yet. Another poster, who calls himself Satphoneguy, commented last night:
I called and spoke to Pat Phelan on the phone today. There is definatly a bug in the rate calculator. He is working on it. For now I would not trust any of the rates to be accurate.

Soon we shall know what the actual rates look like.

I am not really sure if that comment is trustworthy, since Maxroam has to deal with "nasty comments over the last few days from corners seemingly jealous of maybe a tiny bit of growth for this fledgling company". That's how Cubic Telecom's CEO Pat Phelan calls it. He even put up a "new living room policy" to deal with annoying comments on his blog, not allowing them anymore.

From my desk in Berlin I am not yet able to verify what's true and what's not in Maxroam's rates and the commentators criticism. So I beg your pardon if perhaps I copied wrong prices from Maxroam's website. But one thing is for sure: Cubic Telecom is working day and night to complete the product. Pat Phelan even made an exclusive announcement on my blog:
I will give this to you exclusively here. We will have 15-20c USA roaming in next quarter, we will have MAXroam TO MAXroam regardless of country for under 20c in under 5 months, full triggering of call without the callback and global data roaming in under 6 months,this is not the end of a product this is just the beginning.

We intend to change the mobile infrastructure and bring the customer back to the centre. We could launch UK mobile sims with just a flight to the Isle Of Man but we don't want to be just a reseller, you know my personal experience of this business if I thought UK, Lichtenstein, Estonia was a better model I would have just become a reseller and resold the best model possible.

I also note that you commentors are anonymous whilst my phone is on the front page of my blog.

We really appreciate all your feedback.

So these are the "15 to 20 cents" prices we read about in the articles around TC40. Stay tuned for more to come! I will try hard to get more verified information and to write soon a review of Maxroam.


  1. Hi Markus
    Many thanks for your coverage, I am sure Andy will follow up right behind me :-)

  2. I just checked the MAXroam website. All destination from germany are still showing the same rate. But that rate has gone up. It now shows 0.47 euros whatever destination you select. incoming calls have increased to 0.34 euros.


  3. Well... it looks like the rates on the site are finally updated now and showing more realistic values!

    I find it alarming that the product went live (and that that many SIM's were sold) before this was consolidated, and the customers were made aware of what they would finally be paying! I also find it sad that Pat couldn't answer specific questions here and elsewhere and seemed happier arguing that 'disruptive bloggers' were interfering. However, it's thanks to bloggers and people like Andy that many of the problems have come to light (whatever the style may be!)This is especially true of the rather embarrassing €/$ muddle yesterday. He should have some respect for that!

    Also... what about the other questions? (e.g. SMS number)

  4. Many American readers will look at it on the strength of David Pogue's review in the NY Times, in which we saw that one of the world's leading authors on another technical subject managed to test a SIM card in the USA without finding out the tariffs.

    You can read people's comments, in which for instance Canadians travelling to California are looking forward to use it there. They may be disappointed.

    I have said to Pat Phelan: why doesn't he also supply people with a US SIM card and arrange a cheap call divert to it at a couple of cents extra?

    This really is not difficult for anyone to arrange in a minute or two, and is not a tricky innovation.

    But this seems to be one of those nasty comments that are being complained of.

    By the way, those cheap rates in USA were coming soon on the last product. This one has much more scope to do it, but not by bullying the US networks' high roaming rates.

    A simple call divert as I said. If a dual-IMSI SIM card arrives later, fine, but why wait?

  5. Hello Andy,
    did you read what Pat Phelan said yesterday about you?

    12:33 got my first troll, his name is Andy and he’s mean

    I hope you both can sort that out.

  6. there are still some issue's with the MAXroam rate calculator:

    Incoming Call €0.25
    Outgoing Call To Cellular In Germany €0.54
    Outgoing Call To Landline In Germany €0.39
    Call To a Local Landline In Germany €0.35
    Call To a Local Cellular Phone In Germany €0.35
    Sending an SMS From Germany €0.22
    Calling Your Voice Mail €0.32

    what is the differnce betweeen an outgoing call and a call? Does it cost 0.54 or 0.35 to call a germeny cell phone from germany?


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