On previous trips to Europe I have used Truphone to make calls on my Nokia devices. Over the last couple of years Truphone has rolled out mobile VoIP clients for various smartphone operating systems and today they announced (PDF file) their latest service called Truphone Local Anywhere that makes every call a local call. The service is designed for international travelers who could save more than 90 percent on their mobile bills with this new service that provides local number for calls, texts, and data with a single SIM card. The Truphone Local Anywhere service launched today in the US and UK with other countries coming in 2010.
To use the service you will need to get a Truphone Local Anywhere SIM card and for the consumer this is a pre-pay option while it is a post-pay service for businesses. As you can see they have three featured packages ranging in price from $24.99 to $129.99 to start, with a focus on the UK traveler. You will find a convenient rate calculator and see exactly what the rates are for the calls you plan to make. You can also purchase local country numbers for your SIM so when you travel you can be reached on a local call.
The four main benefits provided by the Truphone Local Anywhere service include:
- Local calling rates in Truphone countries.
- Local contant numbers in Truphone countries
- Low-cost international calling
- Low-cost roaming in non-Truphone countries
You can actually purchase a GSM SIM-unlocked phone and use this new SIM as your only phone service provider and not even have a standard wireless carrier account. This will be more expensive than a traditional US wireless carrier service though and is designed to appeal to the person with international calling and travel needs. For example, calls in the US to the US are 15 cents a minute and data is $1.00 per MB with text messages priced at 10 cents. There is no charge for receiving calls though. So 500 minutes would be $75 compared to a fairly typical US wireless carrier plan of $30 to $35 for 500 minutes. Then again, you have no contract and much less expensive international calls. This service is designed primarily for those who use their phone to make calls since the $1/MB rate means to get the 5GB data allowance you get with wireless carrier "unlimited" plans would cost you $5,120.
On the other hand, for you international travelers this solution is quite convenient and if you just use your mobile for minor data needs and make lots of calls the Truphone Local Anywhere solution seems quite valuable.