The Abroadband Alternative – Flat Rate Roaming To Avoid High Data Charges
August 25, 2011 (PRLEAP.COM) Travel News'abroadband' is a relatively new mobile operator. Yet since their arrival earlier this year, they have already made a welcome splash in the roaming market.
The recent cap on roaming data charges in the EU has shone a light on an emerging section of the industry. Roaming rates have always been high around the world. At last new rules have forced mobile providers to impose a cap on the amount of data customers can use when travelling. The idea is to prevent operators from charging high bills that bear no relation to the actual cost of providing access abroad. Whilst this is encouraging news, it does not resolve the challenge of a growing need to access the internet whilst on the move. This is where abroadband comes in.
The operator covers 52 countries across the globe including the whole of the EU, parts of Asia and the Americas. Users can bypass the high roaming charges imposed by their standard operator by purchasing a sim card or dongle that only charges €0.59 per megabyte for data use abroad. This is a low cost roaming rate that doesn't vary from country to country, making it extremely useful and hassle free. The flat rate makes access extremely tempting for any frequent traveller tired of being stung by high data charges.
A recent study by YouGov shows that 43% of the UK population are more likely to use their Smartphone for mobile broadband access when travelling abroad (source: prepaidmvno.com). Before this technology arrived statistics show that broadband use when travelling was not as prevalent as it has become in the past two years. Smartphone and tablet technology have made surfing the internet a lot easier. Business and personal access has increased as a result. Yet the roaming rates have not matched the rise in use.
Hugh Davis the regulatory chief of the mobile operator '3' recently told ZDNet that data roaming retail prices bear no relation to the underlying costs of data transport. Providers and operators have seen the roaming market as an opportunity to increase their profit margins. Davis commented; "Costs are way too high. It's the equivalent of walking into a bar in Germany and being told 'here's a glass of wine for €500 because you're a Brit or a Spaniard'" (source: zdnet).
The abroadband model has shown that data charges do not have to remain high in order to turn a profit. They have looked at the disparity between service costs and user charges and simply closed the gap to an acceptable level for both sides. The operator's flat rate payg mobile broadband contains no hidden charges or tricks. There is no need to mislead. The service does exactly what it says it does on the website. The only challenge for users is in deciding whether a sim card or dongle is most suitable for use.
The sim card is more popular at only €19.90 and supported by the YouGov statistics. Yet there is more than meets the eye with the dongle option. As there are so many USB enabled devices around, it is becoming more and more difficult to know which ones are the best to buy. An unprecedented move towards Smartphone technology in the past two years has decreased the focus on portable USB availability. Yet many travellers still find dongle's useful. The abroadband service understands this, so offers a dongle that gives the user the best of both worlds – a USB that allows a sim card to be inserted. By giving the user both options again it is easy to understand why the subscription rates are climbing.
The idea of having a flat rate charge for internet use when abroad is a good one. The USB add on makes it all extremely simple. Inserting your sim card into the stick which in turn you simply connect to whatever computer you wish to use is the most time and cost effective way of getting online. Business travellers will usually be armed with a laptop or tablet device, but for anyone who cannot afford the luggage space or insurance to carry these devices, the sim card option is still available.
With so much technology to cart around these days, USB connectivity provides a lifeline for struggling commuters and travellers. Bluetooth and WiFi are excellent services, but the signal cannot always be relied upon when moving about. Hotspots have to be found and more often then not people find themselves distracted from their work by trying to establish a connection to the nearest ISP. Having a portable USB device negates a lot of these issues and guarantees a steadfast connection.
Despite proposals in Europe to limit the roaming charges further, the costs outside of the EU are unlikely to change in the near future. Therefore the significance of a flat rate service and USB add on becomes even more relevant. Again it is hard to deny that the options provided by abroadband present a strong challenge to the larger operators. 'Orange', 'T-Mobile' and others are slowly being drawn into the market. Yet it is abroadband who have identified gaps and opportunities and have taken advantage of them.
Travellers will be delighted.