This Malaysian startup has the solution to save your roaming bills

By on February 26, 2016 | Startup Feature

Frequent travellers will tell you why it is a bad idea to get international travellers SIM card. Bearing roaming charges on your primary mobile phone isn’t a good idea either. Despite the increase in number of available options, getting a local SIM card seems to be the best option for staying connected during an international trip.

But then for most of us, the anxiety of travelling to a foreign country takes over. You will have to find a local provider once you reach your destination, choose from plans and get a SIM card. While it is a fairly simple process that we all are familiar with, just the fact that it is in an unfamiliar country deters us. That is why a Malaysian startup called Hello Roaming is trying to simplify things for international travellers.

hello roaming

Hello Roaming offers local prepaid SIM cars for multiple destinations. The SIM cards are delivered to you in advance so that you have your local SIM when you arrive. This way you can avoid the hassle of hunting for Wi-Fi networks or dealing with SIM card vendors at airport. This would also come handy if you aren’t familiar with the language of region you are travelling to.

The process is fairly simple. You go to their website, pick your destination, duration of trip, size of SIM and choose from the recommended SIM card options. Beyond that, the Hello Roaming team will take care of things and get it delivered to you in few business days.

“We started off wanting to solve this problem more sophisticatedly, involving some fancy tech. But after months of investigation and tinkering, we decided to go back to the drawing board after realising that the simplest and cheapest way to allow travellers to enjoy mobile internet-on-the-go was to offer travellers rates that the locals themselves use — through a prepaid SIM card by a local telco provider. It can’t get any cheaper than that.” said Serene Gan, Co-founder of Hello Roaming.

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Talking about the target audience, Serene said, “We are targeting the everyday budget-conscious traveller who needs mobile internet; those who are reluctant to turn on their data roaming for fears of a hefty bill later on when they return home.  There are about more than 1 million Malaysians out there monthly who aren’t using their mobile phones as they normally would in fear of bill shocks later on when they return home. 80% of this pool of people fall within our target market.”

Speaking about the challenges faced in the process, Serene shared that the initial challenge was to understand the tariffs and rate plans for different providers as some countries have very complicated plans. It was also important to ensure that they meet the legal requirements for registration and activation of SIM cards.

They are actively working to streamline their supply chain so that they can fulfil orders quickly and more efficiently. Going forward they are looking to add top-up feature which would allow travellers to use the same number within the next few months without having to repurchase a SIM. Currently operational in Australia, Hong Kong, China, Thailand and Indonesia, they are working to add 12 more countries into their inventory in the coming months.

You can find more details or order a local SIM for your next trip at

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