Roamline

Yesterday I traveled from Amsterdam to Berlin and ended my day in Paris. Three countries in one day. And I did it all with just one data only sim card in my phone.

I've been trying out a new data only service called Roamline while I've been in europe. It works great and allows you to roam from country to country in Europe, Canada, and the US with a fixed rate on data.

It works great, but it is not cheap. At .39euro per MB, I feel like its a luxury. It's much more cost effective to buy a sim card in each country. In Denmark, I was able toget a 1gig sim for 48krone which is something like $8US. So that would be .8cents per MB. In london, I paid 20pounds for 1gig of data so that is 3cents per MB. Roamline's cost of .39euro per MB is something like 50cents US per MB.

But what you get in return is convenience. I needed to be in three countries in one day, I wanted data to work on my phone from the moment I landed, and I did not want to be running around looking for a store to buy a local sim card.

Of course the other option is to just use your US phone service and get the biggest data roaming plan you can. With AT&T Mobile, you can get 800MB a month of international roaming for $120. That is 15cents per MB. But after that you pay some crazy number like $20 per MB (at least that's what the AT&T customer service person told me when I called a few weeks ago to inquire about this stuff).

If Roamline were about half the price, somewhere around $0.20per MB, I think it would be an awesome service. And operating in data only mode is not a big deal. I use skype and a sip client called Bria for voice and I use Kik for messaging. Everything else is data.

You'll need an unlocked iPhone or Android to swap out sims like this. But I don't buy locked phones and never have. I think the lock+subsidy is a bad deal and I don't like being told what I can and can't do on my phone.

In any case, I think Roamline is an interesting option for people who do a lot of international business travel in europe, canada, and the US. If they can lower the price by half, then I think its a great option.

#mobile

Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    Convenience has its price. But this whole roaming thing is still too complicated for the average traveller. It takes a road warrior attitude to figure everything out. Even I got ripped off at the Heathrow vending machine when I picked up a 10Β£ Sim card for local but it was just for the card & no plans on it. Then another card was labelled Mobile broadband but it didn’t work on the mobile handset.

    1. Eric Leebow

      When I visited Israel, there was a presenter who was presenting Cell-Buddy, which doesn’t exist, but it was still a good idea. Once it’s on the market, maybe that’s something you can give a try.

      1. Avi Deitcher

        What is it?

        1. Eric Leebow

          Good question, something to solve roaming.

          1. Avi Deitcher

            The Web site doesn’t say much, even the video is just fluff. Would be nice if they gave some more detail.It is an Israeli company, right? I love them, often have great tech, but as is typical, they emphasize their technology over the problem they solve.

          2. Eric Leebow

            Well, the presentation was pretty cool. They had a prototype of a sleeve that fit over your mobile, so it was some sort of hardware shell.

          3. Avi Deitcher

            That is *exactly* what I meant: it may be cool, it may work, but is there really a market for people who are willing to add hardware to solve a roaming issue?

          4. Eric Leebow

            Perhaps, people already add sleeves and hard cases to their devices that are simply covers. It’s about the same size.

          5. Avi Deitcher

            13 years ago, I did prod mgmt for a startup on Web content protection. Our rationale? “people already agree to click to install plugins for <fill in=”” the=”” blank,=”” mostly=”” whatever=”” video=”” was=”” back=”” then,=”” java=”” webstart,=”” etc.=””>, this is the same thing.”We were very naive. It really did matter, the plugin killed any chance of adoption.

          6. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

            I donno whether it is generally true … but there was this company on medical flat panel detector .. the technology they claimed was fantastic … “plasma-detector with zero bad pixel” … ultimately they closed down because people are ok with 25-30-bad pixels in a 9M pixel matrix.

          7. Avi Deitcher

            Actually, that is exactly my point. Going from 25-30 bad pixels to 0 in 9MM matrix *is* very cool technology. But that don’t solve a real world problem.

          8. ShanaC

            that so isn’t helpful….

    2. Roamline

      HI William, we agree. That’s why we created roamline. Roaming is often a hassle and expensive. We knew we could do it different creating a transparent and simple product for international roaming without hassle.

  2. OurielOhayon

    We need skype of data roaming. this market desperately needs to be disrupted

    1. William Mougayar

      Exactly. I need 1 global tel number that follows me everywhere without exhorbitant roaming charges. I would pay 50-100$ / month for something like that.

      1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        if you make that LOUDER someone will listen … i mean if you have some few thousand such users may be someone will start a service. no Groupon coupon?!

      2. Avi Deitcher

        William, I want multiple global numbers. I want a US number, an IL number, a Canada number, a UK number, etc. But they all work as local, all the time, without swapping SIMs. And when I call a US number, the caller ID is my US number; Canada number, Caller ID is my Canada number, etc.

        1. William Mougayar

          That would be a dream come true.

          1. Avi Deitcher

            Wouldn’t it?The approach is MVNO in each country, multi-carrier SIM card (with the multiple carriers the MVNOs). The technical side is somewhat complex but doable. The operational side – customer support, billing – are heavy, like for all carriers, but well understood. Marketing is actually fairly efficient, since the target market is several well-understood and contained niches.But the financial side is a beast: setting up an MVNO is incredibly expensive, both the licensing and the contractual. For a large firm it is only a few $MM, but if you want it available in, say, 4 countries to start, that is a *lot* of capital. And it starts to sound like the tens of $MM it took to get a Web firm off the ground in 1998.Until MVNOs become much cheaper to set up, or a different approach can be taken, this is hard to do as a [email protected]:disqus didn’t you and I discuss this last year?

          2. Avi Deitcher

            Truth is, there are 2 ways to do this:1) Data-only: the solution people are doing, with prepaid data-only SIM and Skype/Talkatone/whatever, is partially down this path. The problems that will affect adoption are: (a) you still need to prepay and swap SIM cards; (b) you lose the native voice & messaging experience (Android/iOS); (c) it doesn’t work on featurephones; (d) you lose a lot of the hardware side benefits (QoS, hardware processing, etc.). So this works, but it is going to be primarily “enthusiasts” (to use Moore’s term).2) Multi-MVNO: what I described above. Since most of the issues occur because the native voice/text processing occurs when going through the built-in voice (via SIM), then you need to virtualize it at the SIM level.#1 is limited to enthusiasts; #2 is very expensive for too small a market. Unless someone can think of some other #3, I see this as being limited until the phone makers themselves (Apple/Google/Samsung) retool such that the native voice/messaging hardware can go via the SIM number and carrier *or* over data, and they make it easy to do (Apple’s strong suit).

        2. crispy9090

          TruPhone offers a SIM that can have multiple phone numbers attached to it, at least for US, UK, and/or Australia numbers.I was mostly drawn to Tru by the competitive data prices in those three countries: $0.17/MB in the US, $0.15/MB in the UK, and $0.10/MB in Australia. So it’s significantly cheaper than Roamline if you spend all your time in those places. (But to be fair, the rates elsewhere are not anywhere close to Roamline.)http://www.truphone.com/en-…

    2. fredwilson

      Yes. I am hoping that roamline and services like it will be popular and they will be able to operate globally and at much lower price points.Imagine a global data sim for 10cents per MBThat’s the only sim I would need. I could scrap my local carrier entirely

      1. OurielOhayon

        agreed. convenience of not changing sim card is so high.best would be to have this sim card on a mifi device. not even need to replace any sim card…just take you mifi with you and connect your phone of whatever you need

        1. fredwilson

          i don’t like having two devices.

          1. OurielOhayon

            but if you have an ipad + mobile phone + computer with you (many do) this is the best option i guess

          2. fredwilson

            that’s why i like open garden. if you have software like open garden on all of your devices, then only one of them needs to have data for all of them to have data

          3. OurielOhayon

            πŸ™‚

      2. Roamline

        We’ll never know what the future will bring. But we’re going for it big time. In the end it’s all about happy customers build on a solid business case. Sadly at those rates it isn’t possible yet to achieve both. πŸ™‚

  3. LIAD

    Ironic how you can travel thousands of miles across over a dozen countries in Europe without taking your passport out your pocket but there isn’t a cheap and easy way on that trip to consume mobile data, the lifeblood of the 21st century.Absurd how Europe can agree a monetary union, offer social and economic mobility for hundres of millions of people but not come up with a simple way to make data consumption consumer friendly.Pan-Global data packages are surely the railroads of the Information revolution

    1. William Mougayar

      You don’t have to go too far for similar issues. Canada and the US are in the same boat.This is not a technical problem. It is just a control & regulations thing.I was in the Bekaa valley 2 days ago about 25 kms from the Syrian border, yet I received an sms on my cell saying Welcome to Syria from their cell carrier that exceeded their reach. That infuriated me.

      1. LIAD

        …and in a nondescript office deep within the NSA, the sms is caught by an automated data-mining system and some analyst adds the name Mougayar to a list of people to watch.

        1. William Mougayar

          Ha. I have nothing to hide. I was tasting wines and visiting friends in Zahle.

          1. Avi Deitcher

            Now I wish I could do that. Somehow, a Jewish guy with an Israeli passport in Bekaa, I don’t think so… πŸ™‚

          2. ShanaC

            Actually, I’ve seen it happen rarely.

          3. Avi Deitcher

            I believe you… but I think I will wait until that part of the world is a bit more tolerant. πŸ™‚

          4. ShanaC

            Either that, or I go with William who could act as my protectsia?

          5. Avi Deitcher

            LOL! What do you think @wmoug:disqus ? Want to start a firm providing cover for Shana & me? πŸ™‚

          6. ShanaC

            πŸ˜€ – for the record, it might be easier to convince the US government to assign me passports with just my middle name on it, which isn’t particularly Jewish sounding. (and nor is my last name, now that I think about it)

          7. Avi Deitcher

            Easier, yes. But I am offended at the idea that you should not be able to go there because you are Jewish. But the world doesn’t always work that way…

          8. William Mougayar

            One day, you never know.

          9. Avi Deitcher

            One day, sir, you and I will tour the Bekaa together.

          10. William Mougayar

            With time, anything is possible.

          11. Guest

            “I have nothing to hide.”.We’ll be the ones who decide that. lol

        2. jason wright

          Fame at last William πŸ™‚

      2. ShanaC

        What were you doing in Bekka?

        1. William Mougayar

          Visiting wineries & a friend of mine grows & exports grapes from there.

      3. LE

        engagio a CSIS cover story, eh?

        1. William Mougayar

          Canadian Startups Intelligence Service πŸ™‚ ?

    2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      we pay roaming charges (talk) within the country across different states (province) in India. But i think data charges are the cheapest in india some carriers offer less than 1c/MB.

      1. Avi Deitcher

        Roaming charges across the country? Wow.Reminds me of the old days when I could call NYC-LA cheaper than NYC-Albany (cheaper interstate than instate).

      2. 2joshis

        Strangely – No charges for Data roaming in india, only voice roaming.Also Unique to India is multiple Sim Phones to work around this problem. Dual sim phones are common, Quad Sim phones are also available, with multiple sim’s active at a given time

        1. ShanaC

          I’ve seen that before my year in Israel – people would carry multiple cell phones because of charges between different carriers.I don’t get it either.

        2. Dale Allyn

          I was about to mention this as well. In Thailand there are adapters which allow one to cram two SIMs into a single-SIM phone for such use. It’s a flexible ribbon connector that typically lays in the battery compartment. Rates have fallen in recent years so I haven’t seen them as often, but they were popular for a while.

    3. scottythebody

      There is no motivation for the carriers to offer a deal. They make a fortune (both the home carrier and the roaming ‘partner’) off of you.

      1. MickSavant

        I think for the most part it is the roaming partner that benefits here. The home carrier really has no idea how much voice and data is consumed, they are just passing through the billing. I have actually worked with carriers who are looking for solutions to validate usage for a user who is roaming because very often they face irate corporate clients who don’t want to pay the bill. There are even instances where the user didn’t use the level of data the roaming carrier claims which can be validated by an app on the device.

    4. Guest

      “Absurd how Europe can agree a monetary union…”.It’s funny you mention that. I was watching the financial channel this morning and they were talking about how the countries in Europe got free (or cheap) money by joining the Euro. Now it appears that caused a bunch of problems somehow.

      1. jason wright

        The financial numbers that allowed certain countries to join the Euro zone were cooked by a well known Wall Street outfit.

    5. Mark Essel

      It’s a fantastic opportunity.

    6. Elia Freedman

      We were in Victoria, Canada for our anniversary two years ago. Our ainternet connection over wifi was weak but we could go stand on the beach overlooking Washington state and pick up an AT&T signal. Luckily the weather was nice!

    7. ShanaC

      We don’t have one chip system yet, so carriers can continue to price gouge if you move too far. Korea, the US, Europe, etc, all use different standards.As why intra-europe…that is the weird part. I can understand local prices (we did that with phones too at one point), but I am still surprised that All Europe as a plan isn’t more popular/available, just for business reasons.

      1. MickSavant

        LTE should be the first truly global (or at least pan-Atlantic) standard. But due to the regulatory nature of Europe and the UK they are way behind. Many countries haven’t made the spectrum available yet.

    8. Ed Freyfogle

      In fairness, new EU regs will lower cost of cross border calls and text significantly, I believe from 2014. Living in London though it’s difficult to find media that will publish positive EU newshttp://www.reuters.com/arti…

  4. jason wright

    “Yesterday I traveled from Amsterdam to Berlin and ended my day in Paris”How and why?

    1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      Let me take a guess … :-)How- by air.why – business trip to Amsterdam and Berlin joining back with family in Paris.

      1. jason wright

        I like trains :-)I like parachutes too.

        1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

          If on holiday trip … train is the ultimate choice I would also make.Parachute … never tried πŸ™‚

          1. jason wright

            Yes, gliding through the landscape is wonderful.I’ve never tried parachuting, but I recently read that airline regulations permit passengers to carry parachutes as hand luggage. Quite reassuring for the nervous.

          2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

            ha… the person carrying the parachute now will make others nervous … including the pilot :-).Seinfeld would have made a nice episode on this one!!! George would definitely fit the person carrying parachute.

          3. Dale Allyn

            Perhaps they’ll add them as a ticketing option: The D.B. Cooper Package. πŸ˜‰

        2. ShanaC

          what is being in a parachute like?(and bring more trains to the US, so much more civilized than airplanes most of the time)

          1. jason wright

            I don’t know, but don’t jump with a train on your back.

  5. bogorad

    Fred, abroadband.com is a bit more expensive (EUR=0.59/MiB) BUT their country selection dwarfs these guys. I’ve been a happy user for over a year now.http://www.abroadband.com/e

    1. Roamline

      Hi Bogorad, not exactly. Roamline is available in 130 countries and Abroadband only 60. More info check: https://www.roamline.com/co

      1. fredwilson

        Roamline in the comments!!!

        1. Roamline

          Of course. This is great!

        2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

          you under estimate your influence.Just remembered David Letterman’s words “I am powerful and I am connected”

          1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

            I agree and it is awesome to see one of services discussed join the conversation. Thanks Fred for making this happen!!

        3. Abdallah Al-Hakim

          how soon before bogorad joins? Or perhaps they don’t have an effective social media tracking strategy

      2. bogorad

        Thanks for the reply! Since I mostly travel to Europe your plan might serve me better.Most of the countries you operate in, however, are EUR=0.89 per MiB – which is a bit steep.BTW, on your site I failed to locate the charging unit – meaning the value you round up to – is it 1KiB, 10KiB, 100KiB or 1MiB? Suppose I used 55 KiB (checking mail and not much more) – how much will you charge me? 55 or 100 or 1000 KiB? Kinda important! (abroadband would charge me 100k)

  6. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    That is very interesting … I always thought only Students and South East Asians count their $ spending to the cent level … never imagined a VC doing it :-)I remember my initial US days … every cent counted and spent. The most pleasured moment is taking all those saved cents (once in six months) to get the dollars and buy that week’s grocery.

  7. Avi Deitcher

    I go back and forth US-Israel regularly for business (and sometimes Canada). I have all three passports, so I can cross the border with ease using the citizens lines (and biometric), but the phone infuriates me. On the plane I need to pop out my local Orange Israel SIM, but in my US AT&T iPad SIM into my iPhone ($15/month), install a profile to change the APN, and then use Talkatone or Skype.Which means:- I don’t get the convenience of the built-in phone app- One number doesn’t work while the other SIM is inI would love to see a global, high-quality, 3G/4G, data-only carrier, and then use Skype or similar for call/text with multiple local lines (US/Israel/Canada/UK) all active at once.Or maybe someone can create a soft-SIM once and for all…

    1. LIAD

      that’s another reason why the situation is a joke.by solving your data roaming issues you invariably lose your voice connection, or at the least lose your primary cell number

      1. Avi Deitcher

        Yep. I am sitting in Virginia, so my US number works fine, but my IL number goes straight to voicemail. I get there on Tuesday, could have 0, 1 or 1MM voicemails and SMS, no clue.

      2. ShanaC

        I’m surprised there is no SIP type service to resolve this. The voice part should be easy.

    2. fredwilson

      the bria sip client is an interesting thing. i have voip pbx services in the cloud for both home and office. i can port landlines to these services. i am not sure if i can port a mobile number. but if i could, then i could get my mobile number to ring on my phone via a sip client. that makes the data sim model more interesting

      1. ShanaC

        I’d much prefer that in general. Except for dating, my phone number doesn’t mean very much to me…

      2. Avi Deitcher

        It is an interesting idea, but still has most of the problems above – hardware processing, QoS, built-in tele/messaging app convenience. Does Bria support SMS?What are you using for your cloud-based voice services, home and office? And what are your endpoints? Some sort of ATA, or native VoIP devices? Love to hear your setup.

        1. kenberger

          Fred is using Onsip for his pbx, as am I for my entire Asia-based company. A great feature is “HDVoice”, crystal clear if both ends have it. Bria supports it.Polycom and Snom make a few different reasonable excellent HDVoice phones. And onsip has a softphone easily dloaded to a laptop/desktop.PS: I almost joined Vonage as cto in their beginning, so this brings back memories!

          1. Avi Deitcher

            Now, that sounds vaguely familiar, like he posted on it before. Of course, with this active a posting, who can remember everything.Did you really almost join Vonage? I was one of the very early customers, still have an account with them. For home service, at $25/month for unlimited domestic and international, hard to beat. For business onsip.com makes more sense, although more expensive service and much more expensive phones.Curious to know why someone uses onsip.com for home service.

          2. kenberger

            it’s true re Vonage. the ceo and i were in his private jet when the news came in that this thing called “Skype” was launching.onsip is correctly billed as a *business* voip system. But If you have a home office or very sophisticated home, onsip is well worthwhile for the HDVoice part alone.

          3. Avi Deitcher

            So why didn’t you join? Was it Skype? FYI, if you prefer to bring this offline (I don’t care) avi [at] deitcher [dot] net.Curious to know the economics of onsip vs Skype vs Vonage. Hardware is roughly the same between Skype and onsip – you need dedicated phones. Vonage uses cheaper mass-produced home phones, but requires an ATA (usually subsidized anyways). For soho service, single to dual line, Vonage ~$25/month with unlimited, onsip will cost you probably 2-3x that, and Skype $13/month (with SkypeIn and equivalent unlimited world plan).I was always somewhat surprised that Skype never made a stronger push into the home/soho office. Then again, I guess customer support was always a major issue; they are not built for it.Is HDVoice that good? And how does it do it? Aren’t we, in the end, defined by the choice of codec, and available bandwidth and latency?

      3. kenberger

        should work from any carrier since LNP started getting enforced http://bit.ly/QrTKv5I never give mobile numbers to anyone; only my GVoice and onsip numbers, both of which have very sophisticated mapping, simulring, group calling features, including for international numbers (w/ onsip).

      4. Timothy Meade

        might be easier to forward the mobile, my old mobile is forwarded to callwave email voicemail service only when I don’t answer and they get archived in gmail.

    3. Aziz LEFILEF

      Orange provides, at least in France, a plan called Parnass. This plan allows unlimited calls from and to Europe and North America and for 100€, you get 500Mb. You can also have a twin SIM card for your iPad using the same data plan.

      1. Avi Deitcher

        That is really funny, because in Hebrew “Parnass” is one who finances or funds. Colloquially, it meant the local wealthy philanthropist.Now, if it allowed unlimited calls to Europe and NA, and had local numbers, and roaming, now you would be talking…

  8. Eric Leebow

    Just wondering if your next blog post will be about getting through the airport so quickly with Clear. They just came back to the airports recently, so you might run into them on your way back. I happened to see Cell-Buddy present in Israel earlier this year, which seems promising as well, so keeping an eye on it for its upcoming release. So happens, another company they presented with at the same event is looking pretty on Kickstarter, the Ringbow. Thought there would be something roaming on there, so searched for roaming, and saw an interesting documentary called “Roaming Wild,” among some other roaming items, yet nothing in the actual mobile roaming space.

  9. Alan Mendelevich

    Does anyone know if Roamline SIM “expires” after some period of inactivity and what is that period? 20 euro for the SIM card could be a bigger issue than MB price for occasional travelers.

    1. Roamline

      HI Alan,The roamline simcard won’t expire. Just because we know a lot of users will only activate it occasionally.

      1. LIAD

        how big a pain in the ass was it do close deals with the carriers in each country.what is the skew in your cost per MB between the most expensive and cheapest country?

        1. Roamline

          If you want to enable a service like roamline you should indeed need contracts with all operators worldwide. And because of this we do have more margins in some countries and less in others. Of course I can’t really give you these details.In general we have chosen to flat this out for the customer to let us present our product in the most transparent and simple way. We know roaming for most people is a bad experience and we want to turn this around into something positive and convenient. That’s why we also chose to charge per 1KB instead of 25kb or more, which some competitors chose to do.

          1. LIAD

            I hear you. I’ll probably be a customer before the end of this week.I was just curious how large the difference was in your cost per MB between the most expensive and cheapest countries, whichever they are.Is the most expensive 5x the cheapest? Or are they all similar

      2. kenberger

        5. I think many people would be more interested in whether the *phone number* on the SIM expires… but it sounds like since there is no sms or calling at all, no one will see this number anyway.

      3. ShanaC

        Thank you for popping in to answer questions.

  10. Guest

    Fred, please tell me you make (after taxes) $5M+ per year. If not there is something seriously wrong!

    1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      what? why do you want to know someone’s earnings?…there is a say in my local language…”you should not ask a male’s earnings and a females age”.

      1. Guest

        I don’t really want to know Fred’s earnings. It’s just a way of saying “If Fred doesn’t make $5M+ per year then something is wrong”.I guess I should explain:Given how much Fred works (or at least how much he says he works, who knows maybe he just says that to get out of chores at home). Also, the fact that he calculated SIM card charges for his vacation. I think he is a real worker and detail person. Because of those traits I would hope he makes big money. If not, there is a real problem.

      2. Avi Deitcher

        I like that! Good line.

  11. Matt A. Myers

    I’m likely getting a Samsung Galaxy S3 in the next few hours, thanks to @fredwilson:disqus’s suggestion I actually went to take a look at it. They priced it well. Direct competition with Apple, same pricepoint from carriers, etc., so same profit level for them and the phone showsup as a premium phone – and has the features and style to prove it. After looking at it, and having the contrast, you can really see some big flaws with the iPhone.I’ll be heading to the US, and hopefully Europe, over the next few months and I look forward to doing the same kind of experimentation with data; Won’t it be nice when we’re all functioning as one society, and mobility is completely seamless and the only tough decision is who and when you want to see them?

    1. Guest

      “Won’t it be nice when we’re all functioning as one society…”The problem is society is what divides society. So, you’ll only get your wish after we are gone. Oh my…

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Disagree, there are lots of dichotomies we create and perpetuate currently, though they can be overcome. That’s a longer conversation that’ll have to be some other time. πŸ™‚

        1. Luke Chamberlin

          You’ll have to pry my US imperial system ruler from my cold dead hands.

          1. Guest

            Some of your posts disappearing?

          2. Guest

            Hmm… I deleted the above post in my Disqus dashboard. But, now it is here labeled as “Guest.”

          3. Luke Chamberlin

            Lots of them. Then they come back. Double posts. Disqus is having big issues.

          4. ShanaC

            YEs – meters and cm are too hard.

        2. Luke Chamberlin

          You’ll have to pry the US imperial system ruler from my cold dead hands.

        3. Guest

          I was more suggesting that people cause the divide and I figure as long as we’re here we will be divided.For example, some people will disagree with a comment someone makes or they’ll believe gossip about someone and then mistreat that person because of it. Given how quick people are to behave poorly towards others (even those less fortunate than they are) how can we ever expect the world to not be divided?

          1. Matt A. Myers

            Disagreement is fine as long as there’s tolerance and/or compassion.

          2. Guest

            Given the way people hate each other because of race, religion, and/or gender I think “undivided” is just a dream. It’s a good one, but still nothing more than a dream.

          3. ShanaC

            Tolerance is very difficult for those who are sure they are right.

          4. Matt A. Myers

            They’re not being tolerant then, it has nothing to do with right and wrong. You can consider something wrong and still tolerate it.One thing I don’t have tolerance for is violence, nor do I think anyone should.

          5. ShanaC

            In my lifetime, I haven’t seen that happen. It becomes part of moral certitude – I’m sure I can think of situations where I think violence is justified, and you wouldn’t.

          6. Matt A. Myers

            Tolerance and justification are two different things.

          7. Dale Allyn

            Such a person lacks humility, and therein lies the problem, Shana.

      2. ShanaC

        Nah, it is that as a society we choose to make ingroups and outgroups and not be flexible with the people within them.

  12. Matt A. Myers

    Wow! I have a green thingy ma jiggy next to my name now! Cool! Thanks @fredwilson:disqus – appreciate it.

    1. Guest

      That carries with it a check for 10,000 a month. Enjoy.

    2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      I also saw that against my name … but once refreshed … it is gone. I saw that when i replied to @wmoug:disqus and it appeared where ever i am commenting … disqus Issue.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        LOL. I thought it might have been in reference to Shana’s disliked reaction at the green button next to her name, and me replying to her saying if she didn’t want it, then I’d take it. πŸ™‚

        1. Mark Essel

          I miss when we had cool titles and like buttons, ah those were the days.

          1. Matt A. Myers

            It’ll be okay my friend

          2. Dale Allyn

            Mark, I agree. The new version of Disqus has some nice features (not the least of which is search engine crawler access), but there are some UI/UX elements which I miss – and some current ones which could be improved. Another element I miss is being able to click on the user name and go directly to their site, blog or twitter stream (whatever the user entered). For some reason the path was removed, but I hope (and assume) it’ll be back.I know they’re working feverishly on knitting everything together, but having talked with some less “techie-type” users (readers of this blog and others), the new design choices leave some folks behind (lack the “don’t make me think” emphasis).To be clear, I’m a big fan of the Disqus team and very much support them. I look forward to continued developments and progress.

        2. ShanaC

          I don’t like being pointed out as something special…..

          1. Matt A. Myers

            As long as you don’t act like it’s something special, you’re fine

          2. ShanaC

            I try not! Mostly because at the end of the day, I’m not.

          3. Mark Essel

            I disagree πŸ˜€

          4. ShanaC

            I’m too existentialist in my nature to believe you. At the end of the day, none of us are something special (except to our loved ones). We’re but a blink of the eye in the face of the universe, even if we are its thinking starstuff.

          5. Mark Essel

            Thinking starstuff is extra special if you consider starstuff to be special. The organization and order out of chaos is extraordinary in even inanimate objects. Yet I (only half) kid around that in a 1000 years no one will care what we did or who we were. Usually when myself or someone nearby is freaking out. One way to make sense of this seeming contradiction is that we are special, but only here and now. We’re not special yesterday nor will we be special tomorrow. But we might be special today.

  13. Jan Schultink

    I used the UK card, which was great. However, I paid much more than the 3 cents / MB since I did not consume all the data on the card.Great price for UK residents, OK price for tourists.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s why a variable price per MB is a good deal. if it were $0.20 instead of .39euro, roamline would be awesome

  14. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    obviously, you tap into a big frustration regarding roaming for many travellers. Maybe someone should start a Airbnb style service for international SIM cards.Personally, travel the most to UK and Lebanon so I have a SIM card for each of these countries. When travelling to other European countries – I use my phone for receiving calls and try to use the internet at wifi spots which is become more available over time.

  15. John Revay

    “Yesterday I traveled from Amsterdam to Berlin and ended my day in Paris. Three countries in one day. “Sounds like you mixed some business w/ the pleasure of your family vacation.Travel Safe

    1. Guest

      That probably makes it a tax deduction?

      1. John Revay

        My sense is that Fred probably had a legitimate board meeting w/ a portfolio company like SoundCloud ( I think they are HQed in Europe), probably was reimbursed by his firm for the portion of the expenses that related to the side trip.

    2. fredwilson

      exactly

  16. jason wright

    The Schengen Area needs singularity.

    1. ShanaC

      what is schengen?

      1. jason wright

        The Schengen Agreement allows freedom of movement across borders without the need to show passports.

        1. ShanaC

          thank you!

          1. Guest

  17. Tom Labus

    What’s the breakout of “unlocked” phones sold to regular consumers?I can’t imagine this is too high. A mainstream solution is a home run.

    1. Mark Essel

      I’ve been buying my phone’s unlocked since the first iphone, but I’m only a wifi user at the moment which makes receiving and sending calls problematic.

    2. fredwilson

      probably low in the US. probably higher in other parts of the world where unlocked is more common.

  18. Nathan Guo

    Does Roamline lock you to one carrier? Or can you switch between them?I just returned from a trip to Europe using a company phone using AT&T international service and used data in something like 10 countries. I believe are data usage, talk time, etc. are all negotiated as a pool for the entire company.

    1. Roamline

      The roamline SIM can use different networks per country. However this depends on the country that you are visiting. In most European countries or in the US different operators can be used, but that’s not the case in all countries.

      1. Mark Essel

        I’d love to see the commoditization of bits, a dynamic carrier that prices the lowest supplier at any moment.

      2. kenberger

        4. that was my question too. I love three, they have amazing packages in the countries they serve. But you’re stuck to three. Sometimes that means you have dead spots. Being able to scan other networks and connect to them (as you usually can if roaming with an expensive ATT or Tmo sim) helps here.

        1. Roamline

          Well we are certainly happy to help you! πŸ™‚

      3. Rob Hyndman

        Can you use AT&T in the US? I use the Roam Mobility service (I’m from Canada) but the carrier is not AT&T and on a recent trip to the US NE (Maine, Vermont, NH, upstate NY) my signal was non-existent

        1. Roamline

          Hi Rob, Yes AT&T is in our package.

  19. ZekeV

    I used to be able to get my e-mails via blackberry on T-mobile for an extra $15/mo while roaming internationally. Republic wireless is another interesting option, though not really viable at the moment.

  20. Jon Har

    The Supreme Court rules on the individual mandate today.

    1. fredwilson

      they upheld it. i was surprised.

      1. John Revay

        Roberts was the swing judge

  21. Chris

    hint: use a nice android dual sim phone and use your local voice sim together with roamline for data…

    1. fredwilson

      oooh. can you recommend one? i haven’t seen one of them yet.

      1. William Mougayar

        I almost bought one like that 2 weeks ago.

    2. Roamline

      Samsung is bringing a Galaxy Ace Duos to the market. http://www.engadget.com/201…It doesn’t come standard with a roamline SIM but we are happy to deliver if asked πŸ˜‰

      1. Chris

        I have the very nice Zopo ZP100 now. really a pleasure to use and it only cost you around 190USD

  22. natanel

    @fredwilson:disqus can you tell us a little bit more about Bria? Isn’t it a bit redundant with services like Skype? Why pay the added fees to download the app when others are free?P.S. I wrote a post about tips for those travelling to Israel a while back. It could also be helpful to those travelling to other countries as well: http://tmblr.co/ZkGfVxI00uKN

    1. fredwilson

      if you have a hosted voip pbx (like onsip) then you have all your landline numbers in the cloud. you can have one or more of them ring on your sip client on your handset. same with calling out. you show up as your landline number.

      1. John Revay

        Does USV use a hosted voip pbx serrvice.We started w/ a company called Aptela, they got aquired by Vocalocity. Last month they ported us over to the Vocalocity platform

        1. fredwilson

          yes. i forget the name of it. begins with a F. maybe fonality? i like onsip much better. i use it for our homes.

          1. Dale Allyn

            Fred, how reliable/clear is the connection with your system? IOW are you a heavy user, lots of lengthy calls without issue; or are you one to use other means of communication, so a few warts (if present) are tolerated?Edit: Referring to your home setup here.

      2. natanel

        thanks!

  23. kenberger

    1. (of a few): aha- the post i’ve been waiting for since you and I discussed this. Sounds exactly like what you were looking for, albeit pricey.Did you find them or did they find you (from a previous post on this subject)?I see they are participating in this conversation, in a very tasteful way, like OnSip has done in the past.

    1. fredwilson

      they spammed me to be honest. they didn’t mention my blog in the spam. but it is exactly what i was looking for, other than the price. i am hoping they can drive the price down quickly and get more global coverage.

      1. kenberger

        well, respect, they’re great at the marketing part at least. Their website looks fantastic (and trustworthy) compared to the innumerable worldwide competitors whose sites all look like they were auto-generated in 1996.

  24. kenberger

    2. No texting/number: I still contend that at least as of today, it’s tough to go without TEXTING/SMS in Europe or Asia. And I mean with a phone number attached to it (not messaging/whatsapp, etc).While the “Data-only” theme makes for great blog post fodder, in reality it is super helpful to also have the sms part of the sim operational. Call someone and they’ll often text you back. So many situations can be handled via text, especially when you’re going in and out of connectivity. Many cabbies and innkeepers don’t have smartphones.Google Voice partially solves this: people can text your US number. But then you can’t text back an international number. I’d pay big for this ability and don’t know why they stopped offering this. If anyone else knows of an app that allows international outgoing texts, please share, and my point here will be moot.

    1. fredwilson

      i haven’t felt this pain. i don’t miss sms at all this trip.

      1. kenberger

        interesting. i have a couple European close friends and an important business contact who refuse to use smartphones or social networking and i’d rather not be stuck always *calling* them.

  25. kenberger

    3. SIP clients: I’ve found Bria to be the best. I use OnSip for my business, and running a client on my phone allows me to dial out with my regular number (and receive calls, although that sucks up battery life if you leave it in that mode). The wideband codec is included, you can make an in-app purchase of the lowband codec (sic/stet) if your connection is fairly inconsistent.Fring is a good free option too.

    1. fredwilson

      you tipped me off to Bria ken. and its is awesome. combined with onsip, it’s a great solution to data only mode. do you know if you can port mobile numbers to onsip?

      1. kenberger

        Caveat, re “easily”: I have done it before successfully from a few carriers to GVoice. Haven’t actually performed it myself via onsip.but the legislation has been out there for a while to mandate the carriers to allow it: http://www.fcc.gov/guides/p…When it does work, once it switches over, your cell coverage is cut off and you go down to the carrier’s shop to get a new number (expect a confusing conversation).

      2. kenberger

        just got official word from my onsip contact that you can definitely port mobile numbers over. of course, you’ll then lose any sms capabilities.

        1. fredwilson

          i may just do that.it would give me a sense of ownership over that number that i would enjoy loss of sms doesn’t bother me. the only small concern is that the OS and most apps integrate well with sms and are lightly or not integrated with the mobile messaging apps like whatsapp, kik, facebook messenger, etc

    2. John Revay

      Planning on trying Bria using Wifi- onlyNote that I got back from Bria support earlier this year when I inquired about forcing wi-fi only…….Yes, it is. There’s an option on the device under Settings > User Preferences where you can disable 3G/Mobile data use in Bria.Regards,Customer SupportCounterPath Corporation

  26. ShanaC

    A) How is Bria – my dad is into SIP servicesB) Why do I look at the US prices and get a stomach ache

    1. fredwilson

      bria works well

  27. gregorylent

    ditto maxroam … convenient , but costly

  28. Tom Labus

    Congrats to President Obama and everyone who has to deal with health care issues.This will help as the law evolves.

    1. ShanaC

      I guess the question is what’s next.

      1. Tom Labus

        Lot depends on funding for provisions, make up of congress and their willingness to work out some deals,

        1. Dave W Baldwin

          @ShanaC:disqus maybe question becomes who’s next.

    2. Jennifer E. Holbert

      Living in London though it’s difficult to find media that will publish positive EU news.. http://DemoforFrank.blogspo

    3. Luke Chamberlin

      But, but Roamline.

      1. Roamline

        Well Luke we contributed big time on Obama’s campaign πŸ˜‰ LOL

  29. jason wright

    It’s a bit odd that I could be in Greece at euro 0.39 per MB of usage, but Croatia is in the much higher euro 0.89 per MB band.

  30. Sharath Kaza

    Vodafone india launched an unlimited international data roaming service & discounted voice roaming… Data costs about 28 usd per month…unlimited.http://goo.gl/Xbrp2Wish rest of the players globally do the same.

  31. Carl Rahn Griffith

    When in Roam (sic)… πŸ˜‰

    1. fredwilson

      ha!

  32. LE

    Speaking of telecom you can move a legacy pots landline to google voice by first moving it to a cell service and then moving it from the cell service to google voice. You can just leave it on google voice and as long as the browser is open the phone will ring. If the browser is closed it goes to voicemail. Although I believe there is a widget that you can use as well to monitor the line. (Typically you can’t move a landline directly to google voice at least you couldn’t when I checked about a month ago.)

  33. LE

    @disqus – a bug makes me a moderator if I reply to the comment of a moderator. See attached screen grab.http://www.klonix.org/jun20

    1. Dale Allyn

      Same thing happened to me, Larry, when I replied to Shana. Matthew and others mentioned it also, so it seems to be widespread.

    2. Matt A. Myers

      Enjoy the moment!

    3. Tyler Hayes

      Does this persist for you after refreshing the page?

      1. LE

        No it disappears.FWIW it’s been happening pretty consistently.

  34. LE

    Counterpath (Bria’s makers) are an example of a company that needs to produce different marketing for the non-tech crowd for their end user products.They are selling a $12.99 product (ipad) with marketing like this:http://www.counterpath.com/http://www.counterpath.com/…First point on “standard phone features” is:”Support for up to 16 accounts on any SIP-compliant server”SIP is industry jargon. It’s not end user jargon. The rest of the page pretty much is written the same way.Of course if this is their way of doing a beta (not wanting real end users only people who buy this through the app store and aren’t confused by their marketing if they happen to read this) then they are doing the right thing.

  35. Erhan Ulgen

    As you said, with AT&T Mobile, you can get 800MB a monthof international roaming for $120 that is 15cents per MB. However, oneimportant detail is that AT&T prorates the price of the data plan but doesn’tprorate the price. Therefore, price per MB changes according to the durationthat you roamed internationally in a month (or before your next billing cycle)and it can be very economical according to your specific situation.As an example, if you will be abroad for only 3 days beforeyour next billing cycle, you will pay $12 for 3 days as prorated from $120 for30 days but you can still use entire 800 MB in this 3 days period, which means $0.015per MB ($12/800MB). You can also turn on/off the data package from the app anyday within the same month until you use your all data package and you will notpay any extra other than daily pro-rated price. (Minimum cost case: If you willbe abroad only for 1 day before your next billing cycle, you can use all 800MB abroadfor 1 day and the cost will be $0.005 per MB ($4/800MB).Of course, $30.00(120MB package) or $60.00(300MB package)plans can be used according to your needs with the same logic. If you will needonly 120MB for your 3 days abroad travel, then you have the option to pay aslow as $3 additional to your bill for your international data roaming (In thiscase, price per minute will be $0.025 per MB ($3/120MB)

    1. Erhan Ulgen

      Correction to the second sentence :”However, one important detail is that AT&T prorates the price of the data plan but doesn’t prorate the amount of data”

  36. Luis Correa d'Almeida

    Roaming is one of those areas where companies take advantage because they can. There is effectively no reason for the prices they practice beyond maximising their return. The fact there are effectively no competitive forces make this a supply driven game.

  37. Beth Kindig

    Hi Fred & Fans,I have been following this blog and the comments for sometime.I just wrote a 30 page analysis on VoIP and the 5 year outlook. I cover everything from in-app services to P2P data startups. I would love a second set of eyes on my analysis (esp. you Fred!). My goal is to price this analysis for the open market, but for now, I just need feedback. The report would be a gift in exchange for your opinion.Thank you,Beth K.info at 7startups.come.a.kindig at gmail.com

  38. Mesh Lakhani

    I grew up overseas between Pakistan, Dubai and London. One phone used to work with multiple SIMs, and it was so easy. It was a sense of social unification. I think it’s ridiculous that we can’t buy unlocked phones in the US as a default. It just creates this isolationist attitude, while the rest of world is so open to communication (with phones at least). I have two identies- my US phone and my international one.

  39. Beth Kindig

    Truphone is the best on rates for international roaming – esp in Europe (according to my analysis of over 30 companies) The thing you have to remember about VoIP is that the trend is steering away from general-purpose solutions like Skype, and moving towards specialized services. Therefore, consumers will have to get comfortable working with multiple services if they want the most bang for the buck.

  40. Tony van Duren

    there is actually a Dutch company called Droam that charges 8 to 10 cents per MB in Europe and throws in a mifi as well, and is fully serviced. Much more established then raomline which is a Dutch carriers daughter and is by no means at all cheap or even practical as you cant even swap your sim as it doesnt support phone traffic .Altogether, quite expensive.

    1. William Mougayar

      Droam looks fantastic. I like the mifi that comes with it. Here’s the English link: http://www.droam.nl/en/

    2. fredwilson

      I will try droam next time. Thanks

  41. Prokofy

    Recently I took some really long trips — to Seoul and back to New York, and then to Dublin and back. And as I only have a cheap 3G iphone, I didn’t have the sim card capacity. I thought about renting a cell phone or using the one the hotel provided in each room in Seoul (imagine!) but of course for a hefty fee — but I didn’t have to. I just walked around and found the free wi-fi where it cropped up now and then. That enabled me to live-tweet some conferences, keep up with some IMs from my kids, and even play Words with Friends. Facebook was sluggish but you can always catch up on that later. My photos didn’t all seem to get up to G+ but they’re still on the phone to be eventually pushed. And that’s about it. Who needs all those dorky apps when you are in a different country with interesting new real people to meet in the real world.When I had to send files like translations it was an annoyance, especially in Dublin where you literally drop coins into the machine to use the hugely slow, awful, and overpriced Internet, and this from a country claiming to be a huge IT center with Google and all. There is an awful company called SurfBox that seems to have the monopoly on all public Internet stations, whether at the airport or hotels or cafes. They have no directions for telling you HOW to get to use your credit card instead of dropping coins in like a parking meter! Finally you figure this out by accident, but then the system knocks you offline every 15 or 30 minutes, depending on the machine settings you can’t access, and makes you restart at 50 pence or whatever each time, billing your credit card. It ran to like $4 per 15 minutes, which is more than Kinkos — but the main thing was the ANNOYANCE of not being able to write documents and get them saved fast enough.Somebody needs to come in and seriously shake up this whole public Internet thing in Dublin, it’s highway robbery and a total racket. I don’t mind paying for Internet but it’s got to be convenient.By contrast, in Seoul there is so much hot and cold running Internet everywhere you don’t know what to do with it all.

  42. Rousseau Olivier

    Instead of swapping SimCards, the easiest solution is now renting mobile hotspots (or Mifi if you want). You keep your home number for emergencies, but for all the rest, you log on the wifi signal of your device and go data only. Make sure you find a Skype friendly provider as some Mobile Phone operators will slow down the VOIP traffic to a point which makes voice useless. For France, try http://FrenchConnection.fr, but other countries have other providers. With these guys, you can get data to as low as 0,06€ (0,05$) per MB!

    1. William Mougayar

      I like the mifi solution. Ideally one should use an unlocked mifi and get a universal sim card that knows where you are and converts to local rates WITHOUT roaming. But I know I’m dreaming in this case

  43. Scott Sanders

    And then there’s carriers who don’t understand the difference between dollars and cents when they quote over the phone. Case in point is Verizon from a few years ago: http://verizonmath.blogspot

  44. Alex

    optiroam.com is nice. 750mb for 69 euro, and 20eur for more 750 if needed. I use in in France, works well.