Friday, June 19, 2015

Anywhere SIM National Roaming Service to Tackle U.K. Notspots

Anywhere SIM, a new U.K. MVNO launching this summer, has announced that it will offer services allowing subscribers to roam on any U.K. network. The Lancashire based startup will offer a SIM card that will enable users to make or receive calls on the networks of O2, Vodafone, 3 or EE. According to the MVNO, cellular connections will be automatically switched between carriers, depending on which MNO has the best signal in a given location. Anywhere SIM says its offerings will be a good option for users who frequently find themselves in areas of no connectivity (notspots). Initially, the MVNO will offer three different prepaid tariffs, which will not be available on 4G networks. The Anywhere Home tariff, which will cost £0.05 (US $0.08) per voice minute or per MB of data, will allow users to receive calls via any network, but they must make outgoing calls or access data on O2, which is the home network. The Anywhere UK tariff will cost £0.10 (US $0.16) per voice minute or MB of data, and subscribers can send and receive calls and SMS or access data on any network. The Anywhere EU tariff extends roaming access to 27 European countries. It will cost £0.15 (US $0.23) per voice minute or per MB of data. The cost of sending and receiving SMS on all tariffs will be £0.05 per SMS.

 Last year, U.K. consumers were optimistic that the country’s major MNOs would create a solution similar to Anywhere SIM’s offerings as a way to get rid of notspots. Sajid Javid, who was Culture Secretary at the time, tried pressuring the mobile operators to offer national roaming, after Prime Minister David Cameron complained about not receiving a mobile signal in his home constituency and when traveling around the country. The mobile operators rejected the idea of national roaming and instead agreed to the request from Ofcom, the U.K. regulator, to build out their infrastructure, particularly in the country’s rural areas. Anywhere SIM’s launch as an MVNO is a clear indication of the lack of mobile coverage that exists in the U.K. What is not yet clear is how successful the MVNO will be in solving the coverage problem, considering that its offerings do not look particularly appealing. MVNOs generally provide plans tailored to meet the needs of budget-conscious consumers, but all three of Anywhere SIM’s tariffs are priced relatively steep compared to offerings from other U.K. MVNOs and MNOs. In addition, network switching is not seamless when a user moves to a different location after establishing a call or data connection. While we applaud Anywhere SIM for trying to tackle the U.K. notspot problem, its attempt, while not the end-all solution may be the catalyst for a solution.

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. Contact Tarifica for a subscription to the Tarifica Alert. 
Tarifica is the leader in monitoring and analyzing telecom pricing, covering hundreds of operators in every region of the globe. Tarifica’s databases of mobile and fixed line data and voice tariffs are among the largest and most in-depth in the world. Tarifica is also a leading publisher of benchmark and other pricing reports, and its analysts are recognized authorities in the telecom industry, relied upon by operators and businesses worldwide for pricing insight and guidance. Click here to contact a Tarifica Analyst.

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