Cheaper, easier roaming with SIM sticker?

The sticker comes free with a $30 call and text credit purchase on Interfone's website.
The sticker comes free with a $30 call and text credit purchase on Interfone's website. ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI
Stick the sticker on the chip of your local SIM card and slip the SIM card back into the phone .
Stick the sticker on the chip of your local SIM card and slip the SIM card back into the phone . ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI
Download the My Interfone app to register the sticker SIM card before you travel. Credits can also be topped up via the app.
Download the My Interfone app to register the sticker SIM card before you travel. Credits can also be topped up via the app. ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

S'pore start-up's sticker-cum-app solution promises travellers lower rates, convenience

A SIM sticker, that is less than 0.5mm thick, could offer consumers a cheaper and easier way to stay connected when they are overseas.

Being launched today, the product is the brainchild of two-year-old Singapore start-up Interfone, which promises up to 90 per cent cheaper roaming rates.

The sticker works with its My Interfone app to allow users to download virtual prepaid SIM cards from participating countries.

  • 90%

    Interfone advertises up to 90 per cent cheaper roaming rates with its SIM sticker

    100

    Number of countries with Interfone data roaming tie-ups 

In this way, users do not need to buy a physical prepaid SIM card in the destination country. Nor do they need to switch their mobile numbers.

The sticker-cum-app solution, which took two years to develop, allows users to keep their existing local numbers while travelling.

"Not needing to switch out a physical SIM card, or change mobile number, is a huge draw to consumers," said Mr Erik Rasmussen, chief executive officer of Interfone.

He added that the solution is already in use by some 500 corporate clients, mostly in Singapore.

Its SIM sticker - which comes free with a $30 call and text credit purchase on its website - is meant to be stuck on the chip of one's local SIM card.

Users must register the SIM card sticker via the My Interfone app before they travel. The same app allows users to top up their credits starting from $25.

Data roaming is available in 100 countries via global telco tie-ups. In the United States, Interfone works with AT&T. In Hong Kong, it is with CSL and Hong Kong Telecoms. In Malaysia, Interfone has partnered Celcom and Maxis. Its Singapore partner is Singtel. Interfone also promises cheaper rates of up to 90 per cent in destinations like the US and Britain.

For instance, calls made or received in Malaysia, Australia, the US and Hong Kong cost 49 Singapore cents a minute using Interfone's solution.

Traditionally, calls cost at least $4 per minute to make - or at least $1.50 per minute to receive - while roaming in these destinations.

Each SMS is at a flat rate of 29 Singapore cents using Interfone's solution, as opposed to 90 cents in the US or $1 in Australia.

Interfone also sells a 24-hour unlimited data plan from $25 a day, depending on destination.

Businessman Harry Chew, 46, said that to him the benefits are not immediately obvious. "With my unlimited data plan, I can make calls from WhatsApp," he said.

Marketing manager Aaron Koh, 40, is concerned that the sticker might cause the SIM card to get stuck in the phone. "Most phones are super slim with no excess space," he said.

Interfone's chief marketeer Peter Yu allayed such fears saying: "To date, with a 0.5mm sticker, Interfone has yet to face a phone that cannot fit."

Taiwan firm Taisys Technologies has a similar solution called Slimduet, which is also sold online.

Mr Michael Tan, 45, a market observer and director of an IT company, said many Android phones have a dual SIM card slot. "The solution seems to be targeted at iPhone users," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 16, 2016, with the headline 'Cheaper, easier roaming with SIM sticker?'. Print Edition | Subscribe