Can you hear me now? Roamer offers cheap phone service for travelers
You've probably seen the GEICO commercials promising that the insurance provider can save you "15 percent or more on car insurance." The company has been repeating that line for years, relying on little more than the promise of a seemingly-arbitrary percentage of savings and an adorable gecko to attract customers. People like money. GEICO promises to save 'em some. It's like taking candy from a baby -- or, in this particular case, promising to give a baby even more candy than it's already got.
Roamer is employing the same tactic to market its service, which allows travelers to use their own phone number when traveling abroad even after they've purchased a foreign SIM card in an attempt to dodge outrageous roaming fees. The company claims that its application, available for iOS and Android, can save its users up to 90 percent on calls made while they're traveling. Would you like a lollipop with that?
The service is simple. You download the application before leaving your home country, "park" your phone number just before departure and, after you've purchased a foreign SIM card, relaunch the application once you've reached your destination. You'll receive calls directed towards your existing phone number, which will also be displayed when you call someone else. Now, instead of having to tell everyone what your temporary phone number is while you're traveling, people can just, ya know, call you.
Roamer CEO and co-founder Nick Ustinov says that the service relies on the cheapest data connections available in the country in which the SIM card was purchased. These data connections -- or WiFi networks, if they're available -- are used to initiate phone calls through the Roamer application; after calls have been initiated they are handled by GSM networks. (GSM networks are used by many European carriers, AT&T, T-Mobile, and others.) Voice minutes are purchased through Roamer's application -- the company says that it does not use data connections throughout the entire call or require that customers purchase minutes from a local carrier.
The company is currently looking to raise a seed round to translate its application, which is currently available only in English, and expand to BlackBerry and Windows Phone.