Traveling is great. You get to see new things, meet new people, try food you might have otherwise never even known existed, but there’s a downside to all that. And no, we’re not talking about being unfortunate enough to be stuck between a morbidly obese man and a screaming baby during a 6 hour flight. It’s roaming costs that bite. Operators charge shockingly expensive rates to use your phone outside your home country, and while in Europe the government is putting some caps as to how much operators can rob you, Americans just plain have it bad. Now people who are aware of roaming costs are usually smart enough to do some research before their trip to see if they can get a local prepaid SIM card that’ll last them during their holiday, but that’s always a hassle, and you almost always end up either running out of credit or putting too much credit on your SIM card.
Here’s where MAXROAM comes in. Several years ago them came out with a SIM card that had cheap minutes, texts, and data, but that never really caught on. They realized people just care about one thing, data, so today they’re introducing a data only SIM that has a flat rate of 0.49 Euros per megabyte. The credit never expires, the SIM works in over 200 countries, so what’s not to like? As much as we would like to call this innovative, the folks at Telecom Austria started a new company called Abroadband back in February that does the exact same thing. Yes, they charge more (0.59 Euros per megabyte), but they let you pay for their service with PayPal should you be unfortunate enough to not have a credit card.
So which should you go with, MAXROAM or Abroadband? If you’re a penny pincher, it’s an easy question. If you want to go with something that’s already been around for nearly a year and has been proven to work reliably, then Abroadband it is.
Update: We just received a statement from Pat Phelan, Director of Product and Communication at Cubic Telecom, the company that does MAXROAM:
Many thanks for the piece on MAXROAM. There were a number of inaccuracies which I feel I should mention:
01. MAXROAM is a TechCrunch 50 company
02. We’ve been doing data far before anyone else in the roaming space
03: We have over 100,000 customers
04: We won major prizes over the past 24 months
05: We’re a fully licensed MNO, same licence as Telekom Austria
06. We charge data in 25 KB increments compared to 128 KB increments (Abroadband), so we’re actually cheaper for smartphone users.
07: We’ve got partners in multiple countries for our carrier platform, including Tasim (Israel), Now Roam (Asia), Roaming Sim (Australia), and Uniconnect (India).
08: And finally we do allow our customers to pay with Paypal