MAXRoam secures high-street distribution

Irish telecoms startup Cubic Telecom, which launched the MAXroam SIM card aimed at roaming travellers, has struck a distribution deal for the UK and Ireland through the high street electronics chain Maplins. MAXroam uses local, in-country numbers, effectively making all global calls local calls. Customers are given a local number in their home country and another local number in the country they are traveling to. You can either forward your calls, adding numbers to the SIM as you travel via your online account. You can also leave a message telling your callers you are traveling, informing them of your new number. Essentially, calls are routed from one number in each place, so every call on the mobile becomes a local call. MAXroam can currently be used in over 160 countries around the world and operates on any unlocked GSM phone, costing €29.99 (including €5 calling credit). They are also selling a mobile handset with WiFi. Critics of MAXRoam claim that many mobile operators have foreseen the rise of these kinds of services and are now starting to respond with more competitive roaming rates. But with very low overheads, a global footprint and the ability to undercut the majority of operators, MAXRoam will probably be in a good position to compete for some time to come. MAXRoam was one of a handful of European startups at the TechCrunch40 event this year.