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Wednesday, 16 February 2011 16:23

One year on, Truphone launches mobile roaming service for Aussie globetrotters - UPDATED

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A year after 'entering' the Australian market with the acquisition of local fixed and mobile service reseller, Startel Communications, and the signing of an MVNO agreement with Optus, UK based Truphone has launched services in Australia.

Truphone (www.truphone.com) provides its customers with a 'multi-number' SIM that is valid as a local-number SIM in those countries where it operates. It claims that its customers pay the normal in-country rates for voice, SMS and data and that incoming calls to these numbers are free, regardless of which country the phone is being used in.

Australia is the third country after the US and the UK to get Truphone services. The company says it plans to roll out in over 20 countries over the next 18 months, with Hong Kong, Netherlands and Spain to follow soon.

It claims that: data, voice and text bundles that can be used across its network provide over 80 percent savings on published operator roaming rates; European voice bundles usable across 30 countries offering savings of over 70 percent on calls between Europe and the rest of the Tru network.

The company does not yet appear to have detailed rates for users with Australian numbers on its web site, but says "data is just 10p a MB, ($A0.16) and you can make calls from Australia to the UK or US for just 12p ($A0.19) a minute."

Since this article was posted Truphone has provided the following rates for Australian customers overseas.
When in the UK: calls to a UK number are $0.25 per minute, compared to what it says are standard Australian operator roaming rates of $1.09 per minute. Calls to Australian landlines are $0.12 per minuted and to mobiles mobiles $0.30 per minute. Mobile data costs are $0.15 per MB compared to roaming charges of $15MB. In the US, calls to a US number cost $0.05 per minute compared to  standard Australian operator roaming rates of $2.19 per minute. Calls to Australian landlines cost $0.17 per minute and to mobiles $0.38 per minute. Mobile data is $0.35 per MB  compared to $15 per MB.

Truphone announced its Optus MVNO and Startel acquisition in early March 2010, saying: "The acquisition of Startel provides Truphone with a large distribution network and an established sales team...[and] will provide Truphone with a call centre in Manila, providing customer support and telesales capability for both Australia and Asia Pacific." It promised at the time to launch its Australian service "in a few months."

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