MWC: Roam Free

SkukuJust out of a meeting with Skuku, who weve written about a few times in recent weeks. If youre not familiar with the company, it offers a service called Skuku Roaming. You pay around 40 for a USB device which looks a little like a mobile handset, download the software, insert your normal SIM card into the device, then make and take voice calls and send and receive texts to and your home country network via any wireless network, for free. You can also make PC-to-phone calls to any other country. 
We want to enable anyone with a SIM card to roam for free, Yonah Lloyd, who handles international business development at the company, told me, before allowing me to take this wonderfully natural photo of him holding the handset. He assured me, too, that voice quality is outstanding. It costs 2 (1.80) a day to use the service, or you can pay by the month (10), or an annual fee of 119, in which case you get the device for free.
This is a fantastic solution that any individual or companies travelling to any of the 19 countries in which Skuku is currently live, ought to investigate. If you travel frequently, and have to use your phone while youre away, you could save yourself a small fortune.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Lloyd confirmed that most mobile operators the company has approached dont  want to know, but he claims one or two enlightened operators do see Skuku as a chance to win back roaming minutes they are currently losing from customers who refuse to pay high roaming charges.
Skuku is adding countries to its network at the rate of two per month, but tomorrow is when it gets really interesting. This is when the company will also announce a mobile app version of the solution, in beta form, for Windows Mobile devices initially, with Symbian to follow next quarter, and Android, the quarter after that. This would enable users to benefit from free calls and texts back to their home network via wi-fi, without the need to be connected to a PC. Nice.

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