The price of roaming in EU countries is now falling, but only after the European Union made it clear they were serious about regulating the market if operators didn’t take steps themselves. However, roaming costs outside the EU remain very high. You pay a hugely increased rate to receive calls and a similarly expensive tariff to make them.
National Geographic and Cellular Abroad may have come up with a solution. They’ve just announced a USD 199 pre-paid handset, which allows users to receive calls for free in about 65 countries. It’s a quad-band GSM world phone and is supplied with a UK number, 30 minutes talk time, a set of international chargers and access to a toll free support line.
The handset itself is very basic, but the overall user experience may be ideal for frequent travellers, from students to journalists. It’s also interesting that a small service provider has managed to offer a free incoming call solution on a worldwide basis while multi-national network operators are still charging premium rates.
When will the industry as a whole seize the opportunity to fulfill the ultimate promise of mobility and allow subscribers to use their phones on the same tariff, no matter where they are in the world?