Friday, May 23, 2014

Free International Roaming in Asia

Malaysian mobile operator U Mobile has launched free international roaming services for postpaid consumers traveling across Asia. Travelers to Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan will receive a 50 MB international roaming data allowance free of charge. Usage beyond this limit will be charged at pay-as-you-go rates, with a maximum of MYR 30.00 (US $9.33) per day. Travelers will have to manually select the partnering mobile networks, which are CamGSM (Cambodia), PCCW (Hong Kong), Telkomsel (Indonesia), Globe (Philippines), StarHub (Singapore), Taiwan Mobile (Taiwan) and True (Thailand). This promotional offer is valid until 30 November 2014.
As free international roaming offers go, this one is limited in scope. It  provides an allowance of 50 MB per day of roaming data in select countries, on select partner networks only. In addition, at a pay-as-you-go rate of MYR 7.50 (US $2.33) per megabyte (which applies to all of the countries where roaming services are provided, except Vietnam), the roaming cap means an excess data allowance of 4 MB per day, which is very small.

However, this offer must be examined in light of other factors. It is the first free international roaming data offer to be launched in Malaysia. Market leader Maxis offers a data roaming plan for 100 countries with a cap of MYR 38.00 (US $11.82) per day. This offer is meant to promote U Mobile’s Unlimited 50 and Unlimited 80 plans, which were launched in January 2014, a month after U Mobile became the second operator to launch 4G services in Malaysia. These plans, priced at MYR 50.00 (US $15.55) and MYR 80.00 (US $24.88), respectively, provide unlimited on-net calls, unlimited data with a throttling threshold of 2 GB and 3 GB, respectively and allow sharing of minutes and data between up to three SIMs with a charge of MYR 10.00 (US $3.11) for each additional SIM. While 4G services are currently limited to small portions of the country, U Mobile’s 3G radio access network sharing agreement with Maxis is enabling it to provide 3G speeds across the country. This latest promotion, though limited in nature, adds some value to a competitive offer and indicates an aggressive strategy on the part of U Mobile, which aims to increase its market share from its current level of 10 percent to between 15 and 20 percent in the next five years.

The above item appeared in a recent issue of The Tarifica Alert, a weekly resource that analyzes noteworthy developments in the telecoms industry from around the world. To access all of the latest articles and issues:

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