In a practical move to put its product where travellers are shopping, Globalgig and Nuance have today announced that Duty Free stores at Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane international terminals will now stock Globalgig’s $5 SIM starter packs that can be used to access 3G data in 40 countries worldwide.
Globalgig is what’s called a ‘mobile virtual network operator’ meaning that instead of having its own infrastructure, it piggybacks onto major telcos via wholesale agreements. In Australia, it uses the Optus network, while in the US it has partnered with T Mobile and 3 is used in the United Kingdom.
Up until today’s announcement, the majority of Globalgig’s sales were being transacted through its launch partner, Dick Smith, while the product is also available through Big W and its own website. James Boardman, genenal manager of Globalgig, said it was great to get in front of travellers when they are at the point of departure.
“Nuance is a particularly good channel for us because mobile data does tend to be the last thing that people think about when they are heading overseas,” he said. “We’re looking at this as being an opportunity to offer people a good low cost international mobile roaming service at the airport.”
Globalgig cost structure is a little complicated but ultimately very competitive. After paying the upfront $5 for the SIM card, users can choose between three monthly plans: $9 for 1GB, $19 for 3GB and $29 for 5GB; for use in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. You don’t necessarily have to travel to find this good value, as just using the data in Australia compares favourably to rivals, such as Amaysim, which also uses the Optus 3G network, but costs $9.90 for 1GB, $19.90 for 2.5GB and $29.90 for 4GB (all per month).
“We think it gives the consumer both a very competitive domestic proposition but also a fair and reasonable price for using their data internationally,” Boardman said. “And one of the big things is you don’t need to tell us you’re going anywhere; it will just work.”
Where Globalgig becomes more complicated and costly is when you step outside the four included countries. Travel to Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland or the Vatican and the cost pivots to 10 cents per 1MB, or $100 per 1GB (around 10 times the cost of the core four nations). Travel outside these countries to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia or Turkey and the cost rises again to 20 cents per 1MB, or $200 per 1GB.
Boardman says these are all post paid plans with no lock-in contracts. We asked Boardman if Globalgig is working to include more countries in the Australia/UK/UK/Ireland bundle.
“The whole go-to-market strategy for GlobalGig is about driving down that cost both domestically and internationally,” he answered. “We will continue to add more wholesale networks to the proposition; we will put more countries into that bundle.”
Boardman’s point about data costs both at home and abroad is central to Globalgig’s business plan. He said the biggest challenge so far has been communicating to potential consumers that they don’t need to turn off their data when travelling or switch in and out SIM cards from their smartphone or tablet to maintain connectivity. Having more retail sales staff at key touchpoints like international terminals will help spread this message.
“While mobile broadband is widely accepted in the marketplace today, the difficulty has been breaking through that communication of, ‘here is a domestic and an international mobile broadband proposition that is bundled in together’. We are still working on making sure that we communicate that clearly and effectively.”
Nuance Australia is excited to have a new product to pitch to travellers.
“We’re always looking for new products and innovations that enhance our customers’ experience in our stores and meet their changing needs,” said category manager Shlendra Prasad Bilash. “For more and more travellers, having access to the internet via their tablet or mobile device is an essential tool when they travel abroad, regardless of whether they are travelling for business or leisure.
“This product is great value and gives customers a very convenient, easy and cost-effective solution to what has been in the past a confusing and expensive part of their trip planning.”
This author is on Twitter: @Patrickavenell