With our connected lifestyle, we are more dependent on internet than ever. Business travellers need to stay connected while travelling to take care of their work and leisure travellers need it to share their experiences on social media and discover local content. Many startups are coming up to solve the connectivity problem for travellers with their innovative ideas. Skyroam is offering a smart solution for travellers in the form of a Wi-Fi hotspot that won’t require you to buy and insert SIM cards and can be used in over 70 countries. While switching to local carrier might appear to be an attractive proposition to someone travelling once a year, Skyroam presents a very strong case for itself for frequent travellers who travel to different countries. We had a chat with their team to know more about the product and their plans ahead:
What segment are you primarily targeting? Business travellers or leisure travellers?
While many older wifi hotspot products were built specifically for the always-at-work business traveller, more and more leisure travellers today rely on frequent and heavy data access to navigate, find things to do, and keep in touch with family and friends. We’re excited to deliver an amazing service that helps frequent global travellers, both business and leisure, stay connected while on the road.
Do you face any friction in the process of signing up local partners?
Establishing partnerships with carriers is one of the many challenging but rewarding tasks of building a global network. We work very successfully with nearly 100 carriers. A very important part of the value we offer our customers is the strong relationships with local carriers.
Your service works at HSPA+ at this point. Do you plan to move up to 4G anytime soon?
Since our product is aimed at delivering convenience to global travellers, we’ve optimized for maximum capability in as many countries as possible. We have chosen HSPA+ as our wireless technology because it’s the most widely-supported globally. As LTE becomes more widespread we’ll move in that direction.
Right now, the data plans offer limited 3G data. Do you plan to introduce plans to suit the soundcloud and netflix hungry travellers as well?
Yes. Our first service model is suited for frequent travellers as our core technology delivers a convenient, affordable way to stay connected from country to country while on the go. Second, we’re currently working on another service model to meet the needs of travellers who are also power users.
There are Wi-Fi hotspot devices available in the market for as low as $30. Many countries offer low cost SIM cards for travellers with 4-5 GB of 3G data at their international airports. Couple them together and one can have plenty of data on Wi-FI at low prices. How does Skyroam fare against that?
Our goal is to deliver consistent service, price and performance in over 70 countries.
We offer the best value and performance for the frequent traveller that crosses multiple borders as they travel throughout the year. For travellers that return to the same single location repeatedly, SIM card swapping or other WiFi devices may be a less expensive solution to their specific needs.
Our unique technology offers a more convenient way to stay connected around the world by bypassing the extra steps.
We try to balance price and convenience so we give you an on-demand option requiring no legwork.
What markets are you covering at this point?
We are the leading connectivity solution in China for outbound travellers. Our hotspot is available for purchase throughout the world. Thanks to our many partners, Skyroam Hotspot can be purchased at airports in the USA and Europe, pilot shops, global online retailers and even for in-flight.
Your perception of India as market for your offering.
The market in India is a great opportunity for us to bring together carrier partners in a regional setting. We take joy in keeping our customers connected and making hard to reach places more accessible to our customers.
Apart from the Wi-Fi device, do you plan to introduce traveller SIM cards without the device in future?
Skyroam’s virtual SIM is not a traveller’s SIM card as we know it, but a new SIM-less technology that can be manufactured into any Wi-Fi gadget. So we would not be introducing a traveller SIM card as we know it today, but something different.
Major technology players are moving away from the traditional SIM card model in search of flexibility. At this point, Skyroam’s vSIM comes into play – it’s a new technology that changes carriers over the air as you move from country to country. It can be enabled in any WiFi device, like a tablet or car GPS, and doesn’t require any steps to change SIMs, switch carriers or configure devices. It’s simply an on-demand, SIM-less technology. So after the hotspot, next comes embedding Skyroam’s vSIM software into devices to enable global connectivity.
It would be interesting to see how mobile operators try to woo travellers with innovative players like Skyroam entering the picture. You can know more about Skyroam or order a device for yourself through their website here.
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