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Roaming mobile sim is 'straightforward' solution to not-spot problem

Monday, June 15th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

A new roaming mobile sim offers a “straightforward” solution to a problem that has been around for many years, according to the company that is providing it.

Anywhere Sim connects to the network with the best signal, similar to the way phones ‘roam’ while abroad, and is hoped to help consumers avoid being stuck in a not-spot – an area of little or no mobile signal.

It will always look for the strongest 3G network, closely followed by 2G if that is all that is available. Anywhere Sim is also working on adding 4G in the future.

The company will start by offering a pay as you go sim, but is planning to launch a pay monthly option in the future.

Its basic Anywhere Home tariff charges 5p a minute for calls, 5p per text message, and 5p per MB of data. Outgoing calls, SMS and data go from the O2 network, but all calls can be received on any network.

To make and receive calls on any network, customers will have to sign up to the Anywhere UK tariff, which costs 10p per minute, 5p per SMS, and 10p per MB of data.

Founder Matthew Wright told Cable.co.uk the service tackles the problem of not-spots, which he said stemmed from the rapid development of infrastructure by mobile networks who were then reluctant to share with their rivals.

National roaming has previously been suggested as one solution to the issue of not-spots but mobile operators were reluctant.

Instead, the four main networks agreed a deal with the government to invest £5bn in improving network infrastructure to eliminate not-spots.

'Won't be a signal'

Mr Wright said: “In the past few years the networks have been forging alliances with certain other network partners to share infrastructure and share structures and everything else, and that’s improved the situation but by no means solved the problem.

“The problem still exists in a lot of places and not just rural places. You will get a really good signal on one network and there just won’t be a signal on another.

“The solution is relatively straightforward.”

Lancashire-based Anywhere Sim has partnered with an overseas network that has roaming agreements with Vodafone, O2 and EE.

Mr Wright said while the pricing is not going to be as cheap as traditional mobile networks, he believes it is still competitive.

“It’s obviously not quite as competitive as a traditional mobile network working on its own network infrastructure without that capability to roam from network to network.

“But we believe it’s competitive.

“It doesn’t take an awful lot to work out that the way that we are achieving the solution is we are basically paying Vodafone, O2 and EE to use their network to enable our customers to have a service.”

Three – the only UK mobile provider Anywhere Sim is not working with – has a network infrastructure share agreement with EE, and there almost virtually identical coverage, he said.

No desire or capability

Mr Wright added: “There’s always going to be a premium involved, it’s a case of getting that premium down to as sensible a level as possible so it’s not cost prohibitive.

“We think the entry level price point for our package is competitive for what we are providing which is, from a consumer perspective, unique.”

He admitted Anywhere Sim is not necessarily aiming at the “vast majority” of consumers, but those who are experiencing coverage problems.

“Whether it’s ultra-niche, or niche, that remains to be seen.

“As we develop our proposition over the coming months and years it might be that we can get to the point that we are knocking on the door of something more competitive.”

They are hoping to launch the pay as you go sims in 4-6 weeks, with a pay monthly option hopefully following by the end of summer or in autumn, he said.

There is no 4G service yet, but the company hopes to add one later on.

“Everybody is familiar with the problem. Everybody will have an example of a situation over the last few days where they have experienced this problem.

“We are determined to provide a solution to a problem that nobody else seems to have the desire or capability to solve.”

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