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    Sep 16, 2016

    Cheaper roaming rates with SIM sticker

    A SIM sticker, that is less than 0.5mm thick, could offer consumers a cheaper and more seamless way to stay connected when they are overseas.

    Being launched today, the product is the brainchild of two-year-old Singapore start-up Interfone, which promises up to 90 per cent cheaper roaming rates.

    The sticker works with its My Interfone app to allow users to download virtual prepaid SIM cards from participating countries.

    In this way, users do not need to buy a physical prepaid SIM card in the destination country. Nor do they need to switch their mobile numbers.

    The sticker-cum-app solution, which took two years to develop, allows users to keep their existing local numbers while travelling.

    "Not needing to switch out a physical SIM card, or change mobile number, is a huge draw to consumers," said Erik Rasmussen, chief executive officer of Interfone.

    He added that the solution is already in use by some 500 corporate clients, mostly in Singapore.

    Its SIM sticker - which comes free with a $30 call and text credit purchase on its website - is meant to be stuck on the chip of one's local SIM card.

    Users must register the SIM card sticker via the My Interfone app before they travel. The same app allows users to top up their credits starting from $25.

    Data roaming is available in 100 countries via global telco tie-ups. In the United States, Interfone works with AT&T. In Hong Kong, it is with CSL and Hong Kong Telecoms. In Malaysia, Interfone has partnered Celcom and Maxis. Its Singapore partner is Singtel.

    Interfone promises cheaper rates of up to 90 per cent in destinations like the United States and Britain.

    For instance, calls made or received in Malaysia, Australia, the US and Hong Kong cost 49 Singapore cents a minute using Interfone's solution.

    Traditionally, calls cost at least $4 per minute to make - or at least $1.50 per minute to receive - while roaming in these destinations.

    Each SMS is at a flat rate of 29 Singapore cents using Interfone's solution, as opposed to 90 cents in the US or $1 in Australia.

    Interfone also sells 24-hour unlimited data plans from $25 a day, depending on destination.

    Businessman Harry Chew, 46, said the benefits are not immediately obvious. "With my unlimited data plan, I can make calls from WhatsApp."

    Marketing manager Aaron Koh, 40, is concerned that the sticker might cause the SIM card to be stuck in the phone. "Most phones are super slim with no excess space," he said.

    Interfone's chief marketeer Peter Yu allayed such fears saying: "To date, with a 0.5mm sticker, Interfone has yet to face a phone that cannot fit."