If you travel a lot like we journos (perk of the job!), then you’ll be very familiar with roaming charges. Personally I hate them and I develop a cold sweat and nervous tick every time I open a subsequent phone bill, but now uk2abroad has come up with a rather novel loophole…
It plays out like this: 1. Go to the company’s website, 2. Select your destination, 3. Choose the amount of call time required and 4. Check out. You get to keep your mobile number and calls made from your phone when you are abroad are charged at lower rates. Any unused credit can be refunded on return, but is valid for 12 months.
So what are the inner workings? Essentially, you are using the site to buy a local sim card from the country of your destination. We’ve seen this before, but what is different is these cards are all hooked up to the uk2abroad “switching platform” which means all incoming calls are automatically re-routed to your own mobile number (which you give them when registering on the site). For outgoing calls you dial the company’s “callback” number which disconnects you then instantly rings you back. From here you dial your destination number.
Call rates for every country are displayed on the uk2abroad site before you buy the card. The only catch I can see is that you have to purchase a sim card for every country you visit (which appears to range from £15 to £25). That said, once you have bought the card you won’t need to buy another, you only add more credit via the website. A further kickback is that any national calls while you are there will be just that: national.
On inspection, savings look to be up to 80 per cent in North America and up to 60 per cent in Europe and the Rest of the world (I didn't pick the font size - above). It’s probably a good idea to check with your network how much they’ll charge you before you go though, so you can make a specific comparison between their rates and those of uk2abroad.
Big winners here I predict will be travellers who go regularly to a specific country, while it’s not going to do much for those on one-off weekend breaks (unless you’ve got a particularly insecure partner/parent at home!).
Of course, we’d be saved all of this if the bloody European Commission would just get their backsides moving and investigate the whole roaming fiasco… (Oh look, is that a pig I see hovering above me?)