With its announcement today that Truphone is offering a “company-wide” mobile access sharing program, Truphone joins Skype and PamFax in providing a centrally manageable communications offering that shares resources across employees and associates regardless of geography.
According to the Truphone press release:
Truphone today became the first mobile operator to offer shared international mobile service plans for data, text and voice. The plans allow businesses with employees based abroad and with employees traveling internationally to share local minutes, messages and megabytes from a single bundle when in the ‘Truphone Zone.’
Business customers will enjoy shared mobile usage at home in the USA and feel at home in Australia, Hong Kong, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Additionally, businesses receive wider benefits from Truphone’s unique approach to international telecommunications, including better call quality, a single voice and SMS mailbox, all combined with a superior mobile data experience, and a single bill to manage users across territories.
Shared international pricing plans are a new innovation in the telecommunications marketplace made possible by Truphone’s unique global GSM network architecture. This network effectively eliminates the barriers of cost and complexity that prevent people from communicating internationally with the same attitude and effectiveness as they do in their home territory.
Pricing details are provided in Kevin Fitchard’s post at GigaOm:
Companies can now buy big batches of minutes, texts and megabytes and pool them across not just multiple devices, but also multiple nations. For instance a $500 plan includes 5000 voice minutes, 5000 text messages and 1 GB of 3G data, all of which can be used anywhere in the U.S., U.K. Netherlands, Australia and Hong Kong. Germany, Poland and Spain will join that list later this year.
This makes sense for businesses operating in the “Truphone Zone”. Having attended BlackBerry Live in Orlando last week where my BlackBerry Z10 was almost the only computing device I used, I can see where this offering would benefit business mobile phone users of any stripe, especially if they are primarily in the Truphone Zone.
However, their challenge remains to expand the Truphone Zone beyond these seven countries to have a truly unique offering that mitigates the need for expensive roaming charges regardless of location. For Rogers customers based in Canada, they can now take advantage of a $8.99 per day for 50MB data plan that certainly met my needs last week. The real benefit came while I was actually traveling as I did not have to pay for “one day” subscriptions at each of the airports visited in my trips down and back. On the other hand it also served as a backup to an overly-taxed WiFi situation at the conference hotel as well as keeping connected while attending off-premise events the evenings.
We can all appreciate these types of offerings; WiFi is another player in this scenario. But it seems like we have a bit of a wait before overcoming the last “bastion” of high wireless charges: Roaming.
The bonus in my travels last week: BlackBerry offered free in-flight WiFi via Go Go Inflight to Delta airlines passengers using any BlackBerry, whether BlackBerry 10 or a legacy BlackBerry. It turned out to be very beneficial.